July - 17 - 2011
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There is no doubt that there is a Nordic communality of nations. They have a common past and they hope a common future. There is a common constant – fear of Russia.

Nordic and Baltic prime ministers meet in Oslo
The Estonian Prime Minister feels that everyone should be concerned about developments in Russia. “Naturally I am worried about the way things are developing in Russia. Only three years ago the state accounted for 50 per cent of the Russian national economy: now it is 70 per cent.” Andrus Ansip said in the Norwegian capital Oslo, where the prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania met on November 12, along with their colleagues from the five Nordic countries.

The leaders of the Baltic countries were nevertheless cautious in their statements on how the possible accession of President Putin to the post of Prime Minister after his presidency runs out might affect the situation in the Baltic States. “Let’s see what happens in March. Today we can only speculate, and that is not the job of a prime minister”, said Lithuania’s Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas. Latvia’s leader was also cautious. “Nobody can predict what will happen in the elections for the Duma and the Presidency. We are open to cooperation”, said Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis. As it so happens, it will not be his job to be so, as he became obliged by a domestic crisis to step down on December 5.

Only Ansip would ponder the implications of Putin staying in power. “Some say that it would bring stability to Russia, but I would prefer democracy”, Ansip says. “It is hard to talk about, say, freedom of the press in connection with Russia nowadays.” Ansip emphasised Estonia’s desire for good relations. “We would want good, pragmatic relations with all of our neighbours, and I hope that some day we will have those kinds of relations with Russia”, Ansip said.

The topic of relations with Russia was not the main issue in the official part of the summit meeting of eight countries. Climate change dominated a one-hour discussion involving the prime ministers of the Baltic countries, as well as those of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland. Danish Prime Minister was at home, taking part in his country’s ongoing election campaign. A discussion on Russia was scheduled for the dinner hosted later by Norwegian Prime Minister.

In recent years the prime ministers of the Nordic and Baltic countries have held a meeting in connection with the annual meeting of the Nordic Council. Hundreds of Parliamentarians, civil servants, and a number of ministers from the five Nordic Countries convened in Oslo for the annual session.

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