Their Royal Highness’s The Crown Prince and Crown Princess will visit Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania on the occasion of the centenary of their Declaration of Independence; traveling with an entourage of Norwegian business delegates striving to promote stronger commercial relations between the nations.
Their Royal Highness’s will begin their visit of the Baltic states in Latvia today, then next visit Lithuania April 24 & 25th, and then visit Estonia April 26th, with the Heir apparent attending scheduled events focused upon Norway’s mutual business cooperation & defense industry connections among the 3 nations.
Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite & Crown Prince Haakon will discuss bilateral relations, cooperation in NATO & regional security.
A release from the Royal Court of Norway states that the Crown couple’s visit “helps to mark the independence of the 3 countries in a way that reflects their importance to Norway as Allies and close partners.’
‘Norway has extensive bilateral cooperation with the Baltic countries as collaborating on EU/EEA issues and further development of integration in the Nordic-Baltic region. Norwegian businesses are significant investors in all 3 countries, which are also important security policy allies,” – stated the Court.
Ongoing strife with Russia has brought the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to lately strengthen its position within the Baltic. On Wednesday, the Crown Prince will visit Lithuania concurrently with Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen (H), jointly reviewing Norway’s soldiers stationed within NATO’s military.
Norway has 28 soldiers within Lithuania, contributing to NATO’s presence in the country. The Norwegian unit from Hæren is under German command.
Norway’s Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide (H) gave NTB comment in 2017 when Norwegian forces were first deployed to Lithuania, saying “It’s important for Norway to show that we agree to take joint responsibility in NATO.”
All 3 Baltic countries receive extensive Norwegian monetary support through Norway’s contributions to the EEA, reducing social & economic differences throughout Europe.
From 2014 to 2021, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will receive NOK 1.1B, NOK 980M & NOK 650M respectively in Norwegian funding, with these contributions financing health, business, education, defense & other critical project venues.
The backdrop of NATO’s current increase of Baltic presence is Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, and Russia’s involvement in Ukraine’s civil war, bringing distress to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
Their Royal Highness’s Baltic itinerary posts a return to Norway April 27th.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today