The goal of the forum is to establish the basis for an international exchange on challenges and future political cooperation among the political youth in the region, and to develop new ideas for international cooperation and sustainable strategic partnerships between the Baltic States and Russia in debates with academic, political and civic experts.
At the beginning of the three-day event, forum participants could also join the ‘Annual Baltic Conference on Defence’ that took place at the same time in Tallinn, acting as an introduction to the topics of the forum. In her opening address, the President of Estonia, Ms Kersti Kaljulaid, emphasised the significance of NATO and the EU in shaping the security structure of the Baltic States and of the entire European Union. The role of NATO has not diminished, as the organisation still functions as a guarantee of the European security structure. According to Kaljulaid, closer cooperation between the EU and NATO could and should in many fields lead to more transatlantic cooperation.
Following this speech, the Baltic Russia Youth Forum opened with a video greeting for the participants by NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenbertg. The subsequent four panel discussions included discussions of the possibilities for and future of a European defence alliance, the effects of the war in Syria on international security policy, the role of NATO troops in the Baltic States, as well as Russian ‘soft power’ capabilities to influence the western public. The participants formed small groups to look at the significance of the upcoming presidential elections in Russia, and recent presidential elections in the US. As part of this activity, solutions for potential political conflicts were developed, and then presented and discussed in the concluding presentations.
The next Baltic Russia Youth Forum will take place on 28 September in Jūrmala, Latvia.