Nordic-Baltic parliaments underpin strong transatlantic relations

The ties between the Nordic-Baltic region and the United States form a longstanding kinship forged through the firm belief in free and democratic states.

The United States’s unwavering support for sovereign and independent Baltic States in the 20th century stands as a testament to this.

As does Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul RyanPaul RyanThe Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for now Gun proposal picks up GOP support GOP lawmaker Tim Murphy to retire at end of term MORE's (R-Wis.) recent visit to the region and the continued inter-parliamentary dialogue, which we all highly appreciate.

Building on these bonds we, the speakers of the Nordic-Baltic Parliaments, are visiting Washington, D.C., in the end of June to underscore the value and importance of transatlantic parliamentary cooperation.

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Such transatlantic collaboration continues to be of the utmost importance, especially in the context of the new security landscape. In the Nordic-Baltic region, challenges that have arisen in our neighborhood are leading to a reprioritization and revitalization of security issues.

 

Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its ongoing aggression in eastern Ukraine remains a concern for the Nordic-Baltic region.

The situation in Ukraine has led to tension in the Baltic Sea area, emphasizing the need for European and transatlantic solidarity.

In the pursuance of safeguarding peace and prosperity for the citizens of the five Nordic countries — Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Sweden — and the three Baltic States — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — NATO and the EU are instrumental.

All Nordic-Baltic countries are members of either organization; half of them are members of both.

For the NATO members the cooperation within the alliance is the basis for their security, while Sweden and Finland cooperate with the organization as partner countries.

Similarly, non-EU members Norway and Iceland frequently align themselves with the EU on important policy issues, such as the sanctions against Russia.

We consider continued commitment to such cooperation between allies and partners crucial.

Not only do our shared values and joint interests bring the U.S. and the Nordic-Baltic countries together.

Our economic ties are also strong. Nordic-Baltic exports to the U.S. have increased substantially every year since 2008, as have the imports from the U.S.

Similarly, foreign direct investments from the Nordic-Baltic region to the U.S. have increased, amounting to roughly $103 billion USD in 2015.

According to estimates, the Nordic-Baltic States generate more than a million jobs throughout the 50 states. American as well as Nordic-Baltic initiatives and companies stand for smart jobs, created through smart economies.

We share similar features of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship characterizing the desire to generate good jobs for our citizens. There is great potential in deepening parliamentary dialogue on the drive for job creation as we continue to learn from each other and strengthen our economies.

Innovation is crucial for ensuring long-term economic growth. This is why being at the forefront of environmental technological advances is important for job creation.

When we seize the opportunity to stimulate the development of future technologies and combat climate change, we also generate new opportunities for economic growth and competitiveness.

Trailblazing can be arduous work — it could even seem risky; however, standing still appears to be an even greater risk, as the virtues of innovation speak for themselves.

With our shared values of freedom, rule of law, human rights, self-determination and development threatened by terrorism and the aforementioned challenges, strong transatlantic ties are as crucial now as ever.

This op-ed was coordinated by the Royal Norwegian Embassy, and was co-written by the following leaders of the Nordic-Baltic parliaments: Pia Kjærsgaard, speaker of the Folketing in Denmark; Eiki Nestor, speaker of the Riigikogu in Estonia; Maria Lohela, speaker of the Eduskunta in Finland; Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir, speaker of the Althingi in Iceland; Ināra Mūrniece, speaker of the Saeima in Latvia; Viktoras Pranckietis, speaker of the Seimas in Lithuania; Olemic Thommessen, president of the Storting in Norway; and Urban Ahlin, speaker of the Riksdag in Sweden.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.