Plans to increase Baltic regional cooperation on energy issues took a step further yesterday as energy ministers from all Baltic states met for the first time in Stavanger, Norway. Ministers agreed to cooperate more strongly; taking forward a process launched last year when the five Nordic countries declared their intention to work towards sustainable energy supplies in the Baltic region (ENDS Daily 21 August 1997). Main areas for cooperation are to include work on energy efficiency and the development of greenhouse gas emissions trading schemes, an official told ENDS Daily today. Swedish state secretary for energy, Lars Rekke, said the Baltic region could be a "key testing ground" for work to combine increasing international energy trading with countries' commitments to the Kyoto Protocol. Ministers also discussed how to develop the market potential for Baltic natural gas and increase the trade in electricity between Baltic states. Official working groups will meet throughout next year and ministers will meet again in December 1999 in Finland. Yesterday also saw the launch of Baltic Energy Net web site which provides details of planned activities and provides links to energy ministries and organisations in Baltic countries.
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