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An economic avant-garde - Right across the north of Europe, there stretches an alliance of common interests. At a time when much of Europe is in desperate need of fundamental economic reform, it makes sense for us to come together and form an avant-garde delivering jobs and growth, and lead Europe back to prosperity, said UK's Prime Minister David Cameron as he welcomed his Nordic and Baltic colleagues to a summit in London.

The end-of-January UK Nordic Baltic Summit focused on trade, innovation and quality of life, and observers noted that no EU officials were invited.

- This event is also about a new way of working, said David Cameron. We would all benefit from a new kind of summit - less formal, less about ticking the boxes of international diplomacy and more about the free exchange of ideas.

Sweden's PM Fredrik Reinfeldt noted that debate among northern countries "differs a little sometimes from discussions in central and southern Europe."

The fact that no EU officials were invited caused a Downing Street spokesman to make a media statement; "This summit was not about euroscepticism. It wasn't an ideological event. It wasn't anti-European or pro a northern alliance. It was about practical exchanges on policy, coming up with new ideas ... This summit wasn't about the European Union at all."

Downing Street also described the summit as a British determination to work more closely with the Nordic and Baltic countries, and major trade deals were concluded with the Swedish companies Vattenfall Energy, Arla Foods, InfoMentor (education development), and the Danish wind power company Vestas.

Plans call for the UK Nordic Baltic Summit to be an annual event with Sweden hosting the summit in 2012.