On 25 May, Brussels will host the Meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government. One of its main goals is to strengthen the transatlantic link. The Heads of State and Government will discuss increase in defence budgets and a fairer burden-sharing within the Alliance in terms of defence spending, as well as NATO’s role in countering terrorism. For the first time, the NATO summit will welcome the newly elected British Prime Minister Theresa May, US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron. The event will also include the inauguration of NATO’s new Headquarters in Brussels.
The meeting comes at a pivotal time for the Alliance. Challenges to its security are building up, caused by terrorism, instability in the Middle East and North Africa, migration, cyber-attacks, and Russia’s defiant behaviour in the Alliance’s neighbourhood. At the meeting, the President of Latvia, Raimonds Vējonis, will have an opportunity to highlight issues vital for Latvia’s security – the need for reinforcing the Alliance’s defence capabilities and adapting to the new security environment in Europe. The Latvian delegation will also include the Minister of Defence, Raimonds Bergmanis, and the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andrejs Pildegovičs.
The most recent meeting of NATO leaders took place in Warsaw, Poland, on 8-9 July 2016. It saw the adoption of a decision essential for Latvia on the enhancement of the NATO presence in the Baltic States and Poland. The decision came as the Alliance’s response to security challenges that emerged following the occupation and annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, and hostilities in eastern Ukraine. Pursuant to the Warsaw Summit decision, a Canadian-led multinational battle group will deploy to Latvia as early as in June to take care, together with other allies, of the member countries’ security on the eastern flank of the Alliance.