The new geopolitical conditions in Europe confirm that security threats are no longer a purely military phenomenon. We must join our efforts to seriously prevent hybrid threats, emphasised Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Saeima, on Monday, 22 August, at the annual conference of the speakers of parliament of the Baltic States and the Nordic countries (NB8), which this year takes place in the Latvian capital, Riga.
The Speaker of the Saeima stressed that the fight against hybrid threats requires us to work at the EU and NATO level, as well as to strengthen cooperation between these two international bodies. She expressed satisfaction that the NATO Summit in Warsaw saw the allies reaffirm their commitment to invoking Article 5 also in case of a hybrid assault.
Speaker Mūrniece emphasised raising public awareness, including strategic communication and information exchange, as an essential aspect of the fight against hybrid threats. Mūrniece particularly highlighted the contribution of the Riga-based NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence.
At the meeting, the Speaker of the Saeima told her counterparts that Latvia is increasingly focused on building security, inter alia, by increasing the defence budget and strengthening the media.
In addition, the Speaker of the Saeima emphasised the importance of energy security in the context of hybrid threats; even though the Baltic States have done a lot to diversify energy supply sources, we still must continue the development of the regulatory framework and infrastructure projects.
In 2016, the rotating task of coordinating the NB8 cooperation has been assumed by Latvia. Therefore, this year the annual conference of the speakers of parliament of the NB8 countries takes place in Riga. The speakers of the parliaments of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden have met to discuss current issues pertaining to regional cooperation.
The participants of the conference are: from Estonia – Eiki Nestor, President of the Riigikogu; Lithuania – Loreta Graužinienė, Speaker of the Seimas; Finland – Maria Lohela, Speaker of the Eduskunta; Denmark – Pia Kjærsgaard, Speaker of the Folketing; Iceland – Einar K. Gudfinnsson, Speaker of the Althingi; Norway – Olemic Thommessen, President of the Storting; Sweden – Tobias Billström, First Deputy Speaker of the Riksdag. The meeting is chaired by Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Saeima.
The NB8 format has facilitated active cooperation since the early 1990s and brings together five Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden – and the three Baltic States – Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Prime ministers, parliamentarians, ministers, and other officials of the NB8 countries meet on a regular basis.
The meeting of the speakers of parliament of the Baltic and Nordic countries takes place once a year in one of the participating countries.
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Saeima Press Service