On 10 April, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a high-level round table discussion at which about 20 leading European and United States foreign policy and security policy researchers together with EU and Latvian officials exchanged views on the revision of the European Security Strategy. The discussion was moderated by Prof. Andris Sprūds, Director of the Latvian Institute of International Affairs. ELN Research Director Lukasz Kulesa attended in an expert capacity.
Eduards Stiprais, Deputy State Secretary and Political Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, opened the round table discussion and noted that the European Security Strategy approved 20 years ago does not answer to the present-day geopolitical situation and challenges. To remedy that, the Latvian Presidency of the EU Council hopes to promote a decision on the revision of the strategy at the European Council in June.
This high-level expert round table organised by the Latvian EU Presidency presents the first step in sharing opinions on the priorities and content of the new strategy.
Eduards Stiprais emphasised in his speech that it is important for Latvia that the new strategy should prioritise stability and security in Europe’s eastern and southern neighbourhood; strengthen the EU’s capacity to withstand the rigours of hybrid warfare; promote interaction and cooperation between the EU, NATO and transatlantic partners; and encourage states to increase defence funding. The participants in the discussion concurred about the necessity of reviewing the European Security Strategy and supported the priorities proposed by Latvia.
The EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, during one of her first visits abroad in Riga, on 13 February 2014, highlighted the intention of working on a new European foreign policy and security policy strategy. This objective was confirmed again in the High Representative’s report on her first 100 days in office which was published in February. The EU Foreign Ministers are expected to consider the report at the Foreign Affairs Council on 20 April, thereby enabling an in-depth discussion among Member States at the May Foreign Affairs Council and the European Council in June.
The Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs has stated on a number of occasions that the European Security Strategy should be revised and this is also one of Latvia’s priorities for its Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The EU Defence Ministers unanimously supported this objective at their informal meeting in Riga in February 2015.
The round-table discussion brought together EU and Latvian officials and security and foreign policy researchers and experts from the Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and the United States of America. The event was organised by the Foreign Ministry of Latvia in association with the Latvian Institute for International Affairs.