On 11 December 2020, Political Directors of foreign services from the Baltic States, the Nordic countries and the United States of America held their annual e-PINE (Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe) meeting online to discuss transatlantic security, the relationship with Russia and China, recent events in Belarus and Nagorno-Karabakh and developments in the Arctic. Latvia was represented at the meeting by the Foreign Ministry’s Political Director and Under Secretary of State, Jānis Mažeiks.
Jānis Mažeiks pointed out that regardless of changes in the United States administration, the European Union and the United States of America should continue working closely together. Transatlantic unity is key in framing a common policy in relation to Russia and China. Like-minded countries must be united and consistent on matters related to our shared values and security in its broader sense. It is vital for Latvia to strengthen multilateralism through cooperation in international organisations and bodies such as the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Human Rights Council. This is of special importance now that on a global scale we are fighting the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. The European countries and the United States of America should work together to offer support for Belarusian civil society, taking into account that the human rights situation in Belarus is continuing to deteriorate.
The participants were in agreement about the need for continued cooperation between the USA and Europe on security policy and building defence capabilities. The role of the NATO alliance was underlined in the strengthening of transatlantic security and it was pointed out that a united and strong Alliance is and will remain the major stabilising factor in the Euro-Atlantic space.
When discussing Russia, Jānis Mažeiks stressed that it was important for the European Union and the United States to maintain their common strong stance in relation to Russia and it is also important to be following Russia’s involvement in the domestic political processes in Belarus.
The e-PINE initiative was launched in 2003 with the purpose of enhancing U.S. cooperation with the Baltic and Nordic region. The main fields of cooperation within the e-PINE format are security policy, neighbourhood policy and development of economic relations.
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