“Security and defence are the main priorities of the Baltic and Nordic countries. In order for us to deter Russia from aggression, we must continuously strengthen the defence capabilities of our countries, while maintaining close cooperation with NATO, the EU, within the Baltic and Nordic region,” said Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Saeima, during the annual meeting of the Baltic and Nordic (NB8) Speakers in Reykjavik, on Thursday, 19 July.
Speaker Mūrniece noted that the security situation in the Baltic Sea region remains tense, further escalated by the Kremlin’s aggressive conduct, military exercises playing out offensive scenarios, militarisation of Kaliningrad and the scheduled rocket tests. Also the number of cyberattacks and hybrid threats is growing.
Speaker Mūrniece underlined that the presence of NATO troops in the Baltic region contribute to the security within the region. Also the NATO summit in Brussels earlier this month attests to the unity of the alliance and strengthens security within the Baltic Sea region. We appreciate the decision announced at the Brussels summit regarding the establishment of the Multinational Division Headquarters “North” in Latvia, which is an important step in strengthening the NATO presence in the region.
In relation to the Eastern Partnership region, Speaker Mūrniece urged the Baltic and Nordic counterparts to continue support the reform process, although the progress has been somewhat slow. The Eastern Partnership countries are facing serious political and economic challenges. It is especially important to support our partners who have chosen to move towards Europe and follow the path of European values.
Speakers of NB8 countries met in Reykjavik to discuss regional challenges, including security and Eastern Partnership matters, as well as interparliamentary cooperation.
Speaker Mūrniece, together with other speakers of the NB8 countries participated in a ceremonial sitting of the Icelandic Parliament dedicated to the centennial of the independence and sovereignty of Iceland, held in the Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World heritage site, which used to be the historical place to host the ancient Althing sittings. On 18 July 1918 the Althing signed an agreement between Iceland and Denmark, granting independence to Iceland.
The NB8 format includes five Nordic countries – Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden, and the three Baltic countries of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The NB8 has been a platform for active cooperation since early 1990s, including regular meetings of prime ministers, parliamentarians, ministers and other officials.
Saeima Press Service