On Thursday, 25 January, at the annual Foreign Policy Debate at the Saeima Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Latvian Parliament, stated: “In the upcoming elections this autumn, voters will decide on who will shape Latvia’s foreign policy and what it will be. Our greatest responsibility is and will be the strengthening of Latvia’s independence and security”.
“Those seeking to divide the world into zones of influence by military force have not disappeared. Therefore, we must not give up. We must continue to fight by coming together ever closer and working with our allies – the European Union and NATO, our partners on both sides of the Atlantic, the Baltic and Nordic states, as well as the Eastern Partnership countries”, said the Speaker of the Saeima. She added: “We must put every effort into strengthening a rules-based international order – one governed by law, rather than impunity”. Speaker Mūrniece emphasised that this is why we are standing united with Ukraine, as we must not allow aggression and occupation to be legitimised in Europe.
“The decision currently being examined in the Saeima on issuing sanctions against persons involved in the Sergey Magnitsky case demonstrates our principled position regarding human rights violations in Russia”, the Speaker of the Saeima stated, noting also that with this decision we will join other democratic states that have already adopted such sanctions.
Emphasising that NATO is at the heart of our security, Speaker Mūrniece thanked our Canadian, US and European allies for their participation in the NATO battlegroup in Latvia. Furthermore, the Speaker of the Saeima also expressed her appreciation for the strong commitment voiced by the US Congress to remain loyal to NATO’s Article 5. Speaker Mūrniece also stressed that an important task of NATO is to expand allied presence in the Baltics also to the sea and air.
In her address, the Speaker of the Saeima expressed her appreciation for the fact that Latvia has achieved a defence budget allocation of 2% of GDP. She noted that the next convocation of the Saeima would have to preserve this decision when adopting the next annual budget. Speaker Mūrniece also noted that Estonia and Lithuania are already spending more on defence and that Latvia must think about increasing its investments in the sector, as all three Baltic States share the same security goals.
As regards the EU, Speaker Mūrniece pointed out that solidarity is the central value of the EU and Latvia needs the EU as a union of values. When speaking about the future of the EU, the Speaker of the Saeima emphasised that there is no doubt that Latvia will continue to be within the core of Europe and will remain an active participant thereof both in terms of developing the economic and monetary union of the EU, as well as in addressing security and defence issues.
In her address, Speaker Mūrniece highlighted China’s rapid development that pushes us to seek ways to help the country integrate into the global economic and political arena, whilst maintaining the existing international order. “On our recent joint visit to China, the speakers of the parliaments of the Baltic and Nordic countries were able to witness China’s openness and readiness to cooperate with our region and the whole of Europe”, the Speaker said.
In conclusion, Speaker Mūrniece stated that the today’s reality is complicated. The task of Latvia’s domestic and foreign policy is to prevent foreign influence from taking hold of our state. Our goal is an independent, democratic, secure and prosperous state, the Speaker of the Saeima said.
Saeima Press Service