The Baltic states in the EU: yesterday, today and tomorrow

As Lithuania is holding the rotating presidency of the EU Council and Latvia will join the Euro Area, we publish a Study dealing with the historical and political context, the recent economic crisis and the energy policy in the three Baltic states.

2013 is a significant year for the Baltic states in their relations with European integration. On 1 July 2013, Lithuania became the first of the Baltic states to hold the rotating presidency of the EU Council of ministers. Its performance is closely watched by Latvia and Estonia, whose turns to hold the presidency come in 2015 and 2018, respectively. In addition, this year Latvia has been invited to join the Euro Area thus becoming the second Baltic state after Estonia to share the common currency. This Study aims to show that these developments are extremely important for the young and small Baltic states, which continue to aspire to secure their place in the European “core”.

Having emerged from the crisis as good students of internal devaluation, the Baltic states have a window of opportunity to voice their main concerns and priorities regarding the future of European integration. Lithuanian presidency puts an emphasis on more economic growth and credibility within the E(M)U as well as increased energy security, the challenges that have been daunting the Baltic states in the past years and decades.

In order to better understand the origins and the significance of these priorities, this Study is divided into three distinct parts dealing with historical and political context of the three Baltic states (Part 1), the causes and consequences of the recent economic crisis (Part 2) and specific issues related to the energy policy in the region (Part 3).