On 27 October in Tallinn, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, took part in a meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Central and Eastern European countries. The ministers discussed regional security issues and the NATO and EU security policy agenda.
In the Bucharest Nine format, the Foreign Ministers discussed the implementation of the NATO 2030 decisions charting the Alliance’s course over the next decade and taken at the NATO Brussels Summit this past June, as well as the development of the NATO next Strategic Concept. The Ministers were in agreement that NATO’s future is conditional on the strengthening of transatlantic unity and the NATO collective defence posture, as well as enhancing the Alliance’s military capabilities.
Matters related to regional security were discussed amid concerns of the hybrid threat activities intentionally implemented by the Belarusian regime thereby creating a migration wave at the borders of Belarus with Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. The Ministers also talked about the recent ZAPAD-21 military exercise jointly conducted by Belarus and Russia, which evidenced an increasingly closer integration of Russian and Belarusian armed forces. Edgars Rinkēvičs underlined that a strong presence of NATO in the region as a proof of collective defence, and a policy of deterrence are vital for the strengthening of security across the region.
The Ministers also shared opinions on work initiated concerning the European Union’s Strategic Compass, which is to determine the course of the EU security and defence policy in the coming years and the development of civilian and military capabilities needed for its implementation. EU Member States must make larger financial contributions and investments towards the strengthening of their defence capabilities in close coherence with, and complementing NATO’s capabilities, said Edgars Rinkēvičs. It is essential for Member States to cooperate with like-minded partners and enhance their own resilience and that of their partner countries, the Latvian Foreign Minister underlined.