Baltic EU Conversations 2018: Is Europe Back?

The fact that the centenary of our state can be expected in safety is a huge achievement - a result of the great and common patriotic work. Latvia's membership in the European Union is the right choice and it has to remain like that. Celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Latvia and the Baltic States are also celebrations of the whole Europe. 

Latvian Institute of International Affairs together with the European Commission Representation in Latvia and the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia invites you to the high-level international conference: "Baltic EU Conversations 2018: Is Europe Back?" 23 March 2018 | Saeima (the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia), 6/8 Jēkaba Street, Riga

Register here: ej.uz/EU_Conf2018

Please see the full event agenda here: https://ej.uz/Eu_confFinal

For a hundred years Latvia has been a part of Europe, unfortunately, historical events have driven us away from this belonging, denying us the participation in European life. We have won our place back, which has come with the great work and effort of all our people. Currently, Latvia has a decent place among the EU member states, but at the same time, we need to further strengthen our sense of belonging to Europe. The celebration of the centenary of Latvia is a great opportunity to strengthen this sense of belongings - to become even more aware of ourselves as Europeans. The idea of Europe is common for all of us: it teaches us to live, co-operate, share, take and give - we call it solidarity.

For Latvia, the European Union means much more than just a market and money. We need the European Union as a union of values. We are looking for unity! Among the citizens of Latvia, support for the European Union grew strongly, seeing that we were able to be united against the aggressor while maintaining sanctions against Russia until the Minsk accord are met.

In challenging times, our task is to preserve and sustain what has been created with a huge effort. Right now we can see what it means populism games, but we cannot be split apart. The EU has been able to move forward on key issues: Latvia is in the Schengen area and in the eurozone, but we must continue to be active in the EU's core, both in terms of developing Economic and Monetary Union and addressing security and defense issues.

Latvia's foreign policy and EU policy have very strong links with domestic policy. Latvia has been a constructive partner for all of its years of membership, because we have the trust of our society.

In the upcoming Parliament election in autumn, the society will decide who will make the future of Latvia's foreign policy and what it will be like. These elections are also important for Europe, Latvia is an outpost for the EU, and during the pre-election period, we have to take into account the informational warfare from the outside. We can predict that the fake news will be spread in order to defame our country and politicians; they will try to convince us that Latvia is weak. We cannot believe it.

We should not let our elections be stolen!

I believe that Latvia's voters are mature enough to decide in favor of a democratic, European, just, socially responsible and a national state.

Published 12 March 2018