The United States seeks in Northern Europe a safe, secure, and supportive environment for advancing an agenda of interests that we share with the eight Nordic and Baltic nations of Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Denmark. These states are important U.S. allies and friends, and together contribute to the vision of Europe "whole, free and at peace."
The U.S. Government's previous policy framework for the Baltic Sea area, the Northern Europe Initiative (NEI), launched in 1997, has achieved great success. The policy's foremost goal, the integration of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia into the western European community of democracies, has been achieved, as symbolized by offers of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and European Union (EU) membership for the three states. NEI was also successful at fostering a network of political and personal connections among countries of the Baltic Sea region and with the United States.
Dramatic changes in the world and positive evolution in Northern Europe now require an updated U.S. approach to the region. This updated policy, the Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe (e-PINE) will be guided by three principles:
- Building on successful multilateral engagement. Our new policy will build on success, expanding and deepening the multilateral ties and the network of cooperation that has developed over the past decade. The U.S. will seek to work with regional bodies in carrying out policies and development programs.
- Fulfilling the vision. Our efforts to help the region build civil society, strengthen democratic institutions, combat crime and corruption, and entrench rule of law will continue. Threats from terrorism and weapons of mass destruction have not diminished. Health concerns, particularly the scourge of HIV/AIDS and drug resistant tuberculosis, and environmental problems, need to be addressed. Economic advancement in the region, and U.S. trade, investment and economic ties, while significant, can still be improved. Further, we must continue the task of erasing the false dividing lines of the Cold War. Northwest Russia, including Kaliningrad, has not progressed as fast as the rest of the region.
- Exporting success. As a mature area with multiple layers of cooperation and success, this region can serve as a model for others. Together we can find ways to support democratization and civil society in "neighboring" areas.
The Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe, e-PINE, guided by these principles, encompasses three major areas:
The Enhanced Partnership will be carried out with the same cooperative, multilateral approach that has characterized the last decade of U.S. policy in the region. Multinational groups such as the Arctic Council, of which the U.S. is a member, will continue to be an important forum for greater environmental and scientific exchange and dialogue. We are active observers in the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS), the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, and other excellent fora for exchanging information and undertaking cooperative problem-solving. U.S. Government participation in these organizations will continue, with an emphasis on determining which organizations and meetings offer the most possibilities for advancing the Enhanced Partnership.