This morning (15 May) Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier left Berlin for a meeting with his counterparts from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Steinmeier, along with his Estonian and Latvian colleagues Urmas Paet and Maris Riekstins, is in Palanga, on Lithuania's Baltic coast, at the invitation of that country's foreign minister Vygaudas Usackas. Regular coordinatory meetings between the German and Baltic foreign ministers have become a tradition over the past few years; the last such meeting took place in May 2008 in Riga.
Today's consultations will focus on EU-Russia relations and European energy policy. With a view to the EU-Russia summit on 21 and 22 May, the ministers will also discuss Moscow's current proposals for a new European energy charter and security architecture.
Furthermore, exchange of opinions on energy policy will feature prominently – due to their geographic location, secure and effective links to the European pipeline and energy networks are highly important for the three Baltic countries. This year the EU Commission will propose a Baltic Interconnection Plan aimed at improving those links.
In addition, next month's EU Summit will be debated – the ministers will exchange views on the impact of the economic crisis and the effectiveness of national and European measures. Finally, the Lisbon Treaty will also be on the agenda. The aim is to create the best possible environment for the second referendum in Ireland.
Read more on Germany's bilateral relations to: