On 15 November, President of Latvia Egils Levits arrived in Vilnius for the meeting of the presidents of Baltic countries to discuss the common response to hybrid attacks on the external border of the European Union (EU) and Belarus orchestrated by Lukashenko’s regime.
President of Poland Andrzej Duda remotely joined the meeting of the Baltic heads of state to give latest information about the current situation on Poland-Belarus border.
‘All presidents came to a consensus that we need to protect the border between Belarus and Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. And it will be protected. Latvia is currently coordinating its resources to make sure the border is safe,’ said President Levits.
A joint statement, issued after the meeting, condemns migration hybrid attack perpetrated by Belarusian regime on the external border of the EU. It also expresses full support for actions taken by the Republic of Poland to protect the EU’s external border. Declaration calls on European Commission to expedite necessary changes to the EU legal framework on migration and asylum policy. Presidential declaration praises Un Security Council for addressing the ongoing serious international security situation on the Belarusian border, urging other relevant international organisations to actively engage in resolving the situation created by the Lukashenko regime.
‘This is not a refugee crisis. It is a hybrid attack. We will make sure this issue is properly addressed by the European Union and NATO,’ Egils Levits underlined.
One of the key issues discussed during the meeting was climate and targets of each of the Baltic countries pertaining to EU’s climate neutrality ambitions. Meeting resulted is signing of joint declaration by presidents of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. Declaration urges governments, businesses, non-governmental organisations and people to commit themselves to bringing the Baltic Sea and countries closer to sustainability and climate neutrality targets. It calls for support to non-governmental sector efforts and infrastructure promoting preservation of biodiversity. Presidential declaration promises closer cooperation between Baltic States in the field of environmental protection, stronger support for research and innovations supporting investments into greening.
President of Latvia Egils Levits led the discussion the Three Seas Riga Summit and Business Forum hosted by Latvia next year, which will also be accompanied by parliamentary and civic society forums: ‘Latvia’s priorities for the 3SI Summit are promotion of sustainable, reliable and inclusive connectivity. Participation of 3SI partners (top officials from USA, Germany and European Commission) is crucial for 2022 Riga Summit. It is also important to achieve participation of all 3SI countries and private investors in 3SI Investment Fund.’
President of Latvia also commented the coordination of Baltic cooperation, emphasising that Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia often have shared vision of regional and international processes. ‘We are committed to making Baltics safer, wealthier and more advanced. We share close security and defence cooperation, which reinforces collective security of the Baltics and the whole region. I visited the Baltic Defence College in Tartu earlier this month. It is the real success story of Baltic cooperation.’
President Levits also presented Latvia’s priorities for Baltic cooperation next year: defence and security, inter alia, against hybrid attacks and disinformation; greening and digital transformation of economies; EU Eastern Partnership; support for democratic movements in Belarus.