The Baltic national identity will surely merge into a Nordic identity within the next twenty years, said the prime ministers of both Latvia and Lithuania at the Lennart Meri Conference last weekend.
“We are emphasizing in our development strategies for the next twenty years the need for Baltic countries to catch up and become more harmonized with our near neighbors in Scandinavia. It’s important Baltic countries integrate with Nordic states,” said the Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius.
“This integration will be beneficial for both Baltic and Nordic countries because this is such an innovative and dynamic region.”
Latvia’s Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis was quick to confirm that assessment, saying “Each Baltic nation can teach the other two something, it’s very worthwhile.”
Dombrovskis pointed out that while Estonia’s budgetary discipline was something the others could learn from, the Lithuanians were most successful in developing industry, while Latvians have had most success in transforming Riga into a regional transport hub.
The Lennart Meri Conference is an annual meeting between the countries’ three leaders which discusses regional cooperation on many different matters, from defense and finance to tourism and development.
The three countries have steadfastly embraced Europe, rejecting their former masters in Russia, opening up to the west and developing at an astonishingly rapid rate.
Discussing Baltic identity, Dombrovskis said that Latvia is sometimes caught in the middle, with Estonians to the north identifying themselves as being Nordic, while Lithuanians often like to think of themselves as Central European.