Latvian Minister of Defence believes new directions must be sought for Baltic cooperation
It is necessary to look for new directions of cooperation among the Baltic states, Latvia's new Minister of Defence Raimonds Vejonis said during a parliamentary debate on foreign affairs on Thursday.
"It is important to develop cooperation among the Baltic states, continuing the implementation of the already well-functioning joint projects in military education, airspace monitoring, as well as cooperation of ground and naval forces. It is also necessary to seek new directions of cooperation that can be used to provide a shared contribution to NATO and the EU. It is clear that through close cooperation the three Baltic states can be more effective and provide a more visible contribution to NATO and the EU, as well as attract other partners' interest to this region," the defense minister told lawmakers.
Vejonis also turned his attention to Latvia's upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union, saying that Latvia will need to consider participation in EU missions.
"The EU's common security policy must be bolstered, but from Latvia's standpoint it would be necessary to avoid an overlap of NATO and EU functions in order to prevent an unnecessary waste of resources," the minister said.
Vejonis also noted that NATO and EU issues are currently in the focus of Latvia's security policy but that it is also necessary to follow global security trends.
"It is necessary to start seriously following developments in the Pacific region, global power and influence shifts, which can seriously affect Euro-Atlantic security already in the near future. I believe therefore that Latvia must urgently boost the capacity of the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence, so that we can take well considered decisions on our policy," the minister said.