On Friday, 18 November, Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Saeima, addressed the participants of the ceremonial sitting in honour of the 98th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Latvia held at the parliament. “As we each defend our own interests, let us not lose sight of the bigger picture, of our preeminent objective – the state of Latvia. It is unanimity that is needed in order to build something,” said Speaker Mūrniece, urging everyone to dedicate their thoughts and deeds to the state of Latvia and its future.
“Today, it is crucial that we stand united on basic issues – to maintain Latvia as a single entity, an indivisible set of values. We cannot permit Latvia to become fragmented. We must preserve and strengthen the centripetal force due to which our state was founded and lives on,” said Mūrniece.
Speaker of the Saeima urged to join efforts for the future of the state, quoting Jānis Čakste, Speaker of the Constitutional Assembly, who in his address on 18 November 1920 said: “The state of Latvia has grown out of the unanimity of the Latvian people, it has become strong through the unanimity of the people of Latvia, and it will flourish and prosper through unanimity.”
“The state of Latvia was not founded by chance or coincidence. The Latvian people had nurtured their desire for freedom for hundreds of years,” said Mūrniece.
“The Western-born notion of the right of self-determination of peoples gained resounding support in Latvian hearts,” said Mūrniece, stressing that Western European democratic values were at the heart of the state of Latvia 98 years ago and remain so today.
Speaker Mūrniece expressed gratitude to soldiers and national guards, who bravely defend the security and independence of our state. “Today we still have the best soldiers; they are courageous, intelligent and ardent patriots of our country. Thanks to them we can be secure about our Homeland,” she said.
Turning to the current geopolitical situation, Speaker Mūrniece emphasised that security is the most essential item on our agenda: “We have strong and trustworthy allies within NATO. This we have witnessed not only in words, but also in deeds. At a time when the Kremlin is flaunting its military might in our region and escalating threats, reinforced NATO presence is the main means of deterrence”.
“In this complex situation we must devote all our efforts to ensure that the European Union emerges from it stronger than ever before. Because a strong Europe means a strong Latvia. The future - stability, peace, democracy and prosperity - of our region, Europe and the whole Western world is in our own hands,” said Mūrniece.
Speaker Mūrniece admitted that, unfortunately, the gap between the state power and society is widening and that populism has become a cheap weapon that brings short-term political victories. “This is why we must talk to each other and to the society; we must talk to each other and explain our positions instead of isolating ourselves and serving narrow interests. This is the best approach when it comes to countering disinformation, rumours and populism, especially in the current state of hybrid war, which is built around the information war,” she said.
Speaker Mūrniece also urged state officials to make sure that their deeds strengthen people’s faith in the state. In conclusion, Speaker of the Saeima called on everybody to keep in mind that their deeds determine Latvia’s future: ”In a couple of decades our work will be scrutinised. Did we manage to stand up for our state? Did we manage to reach unanimity on the important matters? What did we do to make a better future, to make our people proud of us? We are the ones who are currently leading Latvia towards its centennial. We are Latvia, and Latvia is us.”
The Speaker concluded the speech with an appeal to make Latvia eternal.
Full text of the speech: http://saeima.lv/en/news/saeima-news/25336-address-by-inara-murniece-speaker-of-the-12th-saeima-at-the-celebratory-saeima-sitting-in-honour-of
Video (in Latvian): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fshb23YiFW0
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Saeima Press Service