Madis Kanarbik is satisfied that the Baltic and Nordic countries have reached equal partnership during the first decade of this century. A good example of equal partnership is the cooperation programme for education "Nordplus" financed by the NCM and by the governments of the Baltic countries. The Baltic countries have an active role in launching and financing joint Nordic-Baltic initiatives now.
Equal cooperation partners
Madis Kanarbik also attaches great importance to the Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Public Administration launched in 2009, involving civil servants of municipal, regional and national level. This programme can be useful for the Nordic countries because there are some things to learn from the Baltic countries, too. It is said, that Iceland, for example, can be interested in how the Baltic countries were preparing themselves for joining in the European Union. Other Nordic countries might be interested in how the Baltic countries were able to sharply reduce their public finances during the recession however managing to keep the public sector in function.
One of the topics of relevance for Estonia is the administrative reform and therefore there are several projects within the mobility programme for public administration related to administrative reforms in the Nordic countries. Civil servants from Estonia plan to study for example how the Danish and Swedish local government reform have been developed and how successful they have proven to be. Similar mobility programmes have been initiated in the fields of business and culture. These mobility programmes offer a good possibility for exchange of experience and building of networks between the Nordic and Baltic countries.
Estonia and the Nordic countries have been successful in their cooperation in the field of adult education, Madis Kanarbik says. In the beginning of 1990 the Nordic countries took actively part in building up the Estonian adult education training centres network. In addition, many of the current Estonian adult education trainers got their professional preparation in the Nordic countries folk high schools. Co-operation between Estonia and the Nordic adult educators will continue. A good example in this field is the program "Nordplus Adult".
Higher education - key to success
Madis Kanarbik notes that several Nordic and Estonian universities have already developed strong partnerships. There is a great deal of co-operation, active exchange of students and co-operative networking based on various disciplines. This cooperation is supported by the program „Nordplus Higher Education“. During the meeting of the Baltic and Nordic ministers of education and research held in Copenhagen in November 2010 it was decided that the existing cooperation be deepened even further so that a common higher education and research area could emerge. The importance of cooperation in the field of research has been stressed in particular. When young scientists get to know one another early on in their studies they are also more likely to create regional collaborative research networks later on during their future career. The cooperation of universities is also backed by an important political program paper – the "Baltic Sea Strategy". The strategy emphasizes that more attention be set on higher education and research in the Baltic Sea Region.