Edgars Rinkēvičs: closer cooperation is needed between NATO and the European Union

14.05.2015. 17:19

On 14 May, at the Meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Antalya, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs took part in a working session, at which he discussed the need for closer cooperation between NATO and the European Union (EU), challenges existing near the NATO borders in the east and the south, the course of implementation of the Wales Summit decisions, and NATO’s “open door” policy.

The Latvian Foreign Minister pointed out that Russia’s behaviour has not changed, and that Russia continues to engage in aggressive military activities in the immediate vicinity of the borders of NATO countries, including in the Baltic Sea region. Therefore, for the time being, there are no grounds for changing NATO’s position on relations with Russia. “We observe that the flights of Russia’s military aircraft are not getting less frequent, that the Crimean Peninsula has been occupied and that the Black Sea region is being militarised. Russia’s behaviour has not changed, and NATO-Russia cooperation remains suspended. Such relations between NATO and Russia have become the “new normal”. We have to keep up a dialogue with Russia but, at the same time, we need to be sure that we are sending a clear signal about the goals of the North Atlantic Alliance, which are preparedness and a policy of deterrence and defence,” Edgars Rinkēvičs emphasised.

Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs also made the point that the EU should engage in closer cooperation with NATO in non-military areas such as countering organised crime, terrorism, foreign fighters, smuggling and trafficking in persons, and in the enhancement of strategic communication. 

The Foreign Minister praised the reinforcement of collective security that has been taking place in response to Russia’s aggression and expressed hope that the decisions of the Wales Summit should be put fully into practice before their review as early as at the Warsaw Summit in 2016. Higher response capabilities and a military presence of NATO’s allies in the east of the Alliance are needed already at this point, said the Minister.

Referring to NATO’s “open door” policy, Edgars Rinkēvičs stressed that such policies are underpinned by the assessment of candidate countries on the basis of individual achievements in the course implementing reforms.

 


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