The Baltic Assembly (BA) is a regional organisation that promotes intergovernmental cooperation between Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. It attempts to find a common position in relation to many international issues, including economic, political and cultural issues. The decisions of the assembly are advisory.
The budget of the BA is funded by the three member's governments. The official languages of the Baltic Assembly are Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian. The headquarters and secretariat of the organization are located in Riga, Latvia.
32nd session of the Baltic Assembly meeting in Riga
The organisation was formed after a decision to establish it was made in Vilnius on 1 December 1990. It works under regulations approved on 8 November 1991 in Tallinn. On 13 June 1994 the three nations agreed to the structure and rules of the organization.
The BA claims the following as its achievements between 1991 and 2003:
- Withdrawal of Russian troops from the member States,
- Formation of the Baltic Council of Ministers as an institution of governmental co-operation,
- Development of common Baltic economic, educational and information technology policies,
- Harmonisation of legislation in conformity with requirements of the European Union,
- Improvement of border-crossing procedures,
- The establishment of the Baltic Assembly Prizes for Literature, the Arts and Science.
Cooperation with other Geopolitic-regions
In 2017 the Baltic Assembly, the Benelux and three of the members of the Nordic Council (Sweden, Denmark and Finland, all EU-member states), sought intensifying cooperation in the Digital Single Market, as well as discussing social matters, the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union, the European migrant crisis and defense cooperation. Relations with Russia, Turkey and the United Kingdom was also on the agenda.
The BA comprises sixty members. Each of the parliaments of the three States appoints twenty of its members to the Assembly. Each of the national parliaments appoints two of the members to be head and deputy head of the national delegation. The six head delegates and deputy head delegates form the BA's Presidium. The Chairman of the Presidium is the head of the national delegation of the country hosting the next session of the BA. The heads of the other two national delegations are Vice Chairmen of the Presidium. The Presidium controls the BA between sessions. The Chairman acts as the coordinator of the work of the BA, is its representative with other bodies and liaises with the three members’ governments.
30th session of the Baltic Assembly meeting in Tallinn in 2011
There are ordinary and extraordinary Sessions. The ordinary Session is convened once a year, as a concluding forum of a country's presidency, which proceeds according to a yearly rotation principle in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Before 2003 there were two Sessions a year – in spring and autumn, and countries - participants had half a year presidency.
Any national delegation may propose that an extraordinary session is held. On 8–9 February 1998 in Helsinki, Finland, following to the 2nd Joint Meeting of the Nordic Council and the Baltic Assembly, the first Extraordinary Session of the Baltic Assembly took place. The second Extraordinary Session of the Baltic Assembly was held on 27–29 April 2005 in Pärnu, Estonia, following to the 5th Joint Meeting of the Baltic Assembly and the Nordic Council.
The following are the standing committees:
- Budget and Audit
- Communications and IT
- Economic and Social Affairs
- Education, Science, and Culture
- Environment Protection and Energy
- Security and Foreign Affairs
Each member of the BA participates in at least one committee.
The 20 members of the BA from each country are chosen so that their political make-up reflects the proportions within their home parliament. The members may then form cross-national party groupings of at least five members from at least two nations.
The Medal of the Baltic Assembly
Baltic Assembly Prize for Literature, the Arts, and Science
A clickable Euler diagram
showing the relationships between various multinational European organisations and agreements.
Since 1993, the Baltic Assembly gives out an award annually for achievements in literature, the arts, and science.
Medal of the Baltic Assembly
The Medal of the Baltic Assembly is an award given by the organization to individuals that have contributed to upholding the unity and cooperation of the Baltic States, outstanding contribution and cooperation in implementing joint cooperation projects, promoting regional cooperation in an enlarged Europe.