Nordic-Baltic co-operation, or NB8, is a regional co-operation format that includes Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. There are no separate structures or organisations for the purpose of NB8 co-operation, although it is agreed who will co-ordinate the co-operation each year. In 2013 the co-ordinator of NB8 co-operation is Sweden, in 2014 Estonia, and in 2015 Denmark. The co-ordinator in 2012 was Lithuania.
On the political level, co-operation in the NB8 format is conducted primarily in the form of annual meetings of the prime ministers and foreign ministers. The foreign ministers’ meetings have taken place since 1993. Although initially the meetings took place in the “5+3” format, in 2000 it was decided, on the initiative of then-foreign minister Toomas Hendrik Ilves, to call the Nordic-Baltic co-operation format something that expressed greater unity: "Nordic-Baltic-Eight" (NB8). In addition to the foreign ministers and prime ministers, other ministers and ministry officials also meet on a regular basis. In the realm of foreign policy, there are many meetings held among secretaries general, political directors, experts, and diplomats from foreign representations within the NB8 format.
Most important meetings in the NB8 format
Meetings scheduled for 2013
13-14 February - Political directors of NB8 foreign ministries in Stockholm
20 February - NB8 + Visegrad 4 foreign minister in Gdansk
27-28 February - NB8 + UK prime ministers in Riga
10-11April - Political directors of the NB8 + USA (E-PINE) in Tbilisi
September - NB8 foreign minister in Visby
October - NB8 prime minister in Oslo
October - Secretaries general of NB8 foreign minister in Stockholm
October/November - Political directors of the NB8 + USA (E-PINE) in Washington
In August of 2010 an NB8 co-operation report called the NB8 Wise Men Report was completed. The initiator of the idea for the report was Latvia, co-ordinator of the Baltic countries and NB8 in 2010, who called upon chairman of the Nordic Council of Ministers Denmark to audit Nordic-Baltic co-operation. The report was compiled by former Latvian prime minister and foreign minister Valdis Birkavs and former Danish minister of defence Søren Gade. The rapporteurs met with representatives from all the NB8 nations in order to get an overview of the nations’ visions and proposals. By today the 38 proposals made in the report have been discussed by the member states and it has been decided which proposals should be implemented first and who will be the co-ordinators.
Parliamentary co-operation began with the Baltic Assembly (BA) and the Nordic Council (NC) in 1989. Annual summits take place between the BA and the NC, and in addition meetings are organised on all possible levels: speakers, presidiums, commissions, and individual members.