On April 8 to 10, 2019, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Latvian Parliament, Mr. Rihards Kols, visited the Czech Republic. A meeting with Czech partners in the Parliament of the Czech Republic and in the government proved both countries’ similiar approach to today’s security challenges as well as to their positions towards NATO and European Union issues, on which is important to continue cooperation.
During the meeting with the Deputy Speaker of the Senate of the Czech Republic, Mr. Jiří Oberfalzer, the Member of the Latvian Parliament congratulated the Czech Republic on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the NATO membership. “Both our countries are reliable NATO members”, said R. Kols, emphasising the necessity to strengthen further NATO’s capabilities and welcoming the fact Latvia spends 2 % of its GDP on defence. The Chairman of the Committee thanked the Czech Republic for its contribution on the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Group in Latvia as well as on the Baltic Air Policing. Participating in the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Group Latvia gives also an opportunity to train together with soldiers from other NATO states and to improve their battle skills.
With the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security of the Senate of the Czech Republic, Mr. Pavel Fischer, interparliamentary cooperation and defence and EU issues were discussed. R. Kols expressed Latvia’s interest to continue to cooperate closely in defence. The deputies agreed on importance of a collaboration in cybersecurity. It is crucial to exchange information and cooperate in practice as well as at NATO and EU levels.
Rihards Kols met also with the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic. The current EU issues including Single Market and the EU next multianual budget as well as the upcoming Czech Presidency of the Visegrád Group were discussed.
At the Ministry of Defence the Latvian deputy met the Deputy Minister Mr. Radomír Jahoda. R. Kols stressed both the Czech Republic’s contribution on security in Baltic countries and need to cooperate fighting the cyber threats. He also underlined NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence in Rīga contribution and encouraged Czechia to take part in it.