On 4 May, in her address to the participants of the ceremonial sitting held in honour of the 24th anniversary of the renewal of independence of the Republic of Latvia, Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, indicated that today Latvia is stronger than ever before, and that we must promptly put this strength to use in order to safeguard the common future of Latvia and Europe.
“Latvia must clearly speak up when international law is violated, when pseudo-concerns for compatriots are used as a pretext for annexing foreign territories and when military authorities camouflage themselves as civilians. Latvia knows how tragic the consequences of such schemes by superpowers can be, just as it knows what it means to have irresponsible politicians at home,” noted Āboltiņa as she emphasised that Latvia’s duty in the current circumstances is to remind its partners about the need to vigorously defend the values that are at the heart of the European Union.
With regard to security matters, the Speaker of the Saeima indicated that Ukraine has taught us a clear lesson – we have to be more responsible when allocating the defence budget, and we have to strengthen the National Guard. “We cannot expect someone else to pay for our security. We must keep in mind that it is not just armaments that make a country strong; today strength also depends on effective strategic cooperation with our international allies,” said Speaker Āboltiņa.
“Unfortunately, in the context of the European Union and NATO, we still make a distinction between “us” and “them”. In reality, these organisations are not divided into “us” and “them” – there is just “we”. Our strength lies in the ability to persuade and to cooperate rather than in isolation and witch-hunting. The strength of the European Union and NATO is our strength, which comes with obligations but which also makes Latvia stronger and more secure,” said Solvita Āboltiņa in her address.
“The best protection from the ambitions of foreign countries is a firm conviction that Latvia is needed and cherished by each and every resident of our country and that our people’s minds are fortified against foreign demagoguery and propaganda. We all must build this conviction. The level of social inequality in Latvia is still high, and the government has declared the resolution of this issue a priority. The toughest task for us – politicians – is to ensure a diversity of opportunities and a feeling of security; this task is more difficult than simply giving people money or offering discounts,” noted the Speaker of the Saeima.
“We need a strong middle class because only it can cultivate patriotism and a feeling of being a part of the state. Our patriots are and will be the people who have something to lose in Latvia; the more such people we have, the more secure and strong our state will be,” said Solvita Āboltiņa.
“Latvia is home to all the people who live here, who abide by and acknowledge the fundamental principles of our state, who speak and honour the Latvian language, and who recognise our geopolitical place in the European and Western cultural space. Latvians have been strong enough to found and defend their own state, and they are strong enough to take care of and assume responsibility for everyone who lives in our state and has a sense of belonging here,” indicated Speaker.
In her reflection on what has been done, Speaker of the Saeima indicated that by balancing the budget and adopting a number of important laws, we have laid the foundation for long-term growth of our state. “Emigration has decreased as well, and a growing number of young people see their future in Latvia. Today we are on the verge of more rapid growth, but this growth will not occur on its own. Our own inactivity and lack of faith in our strength may be the main obstacle to our growth,” said Solvita Āboltiņa to the highest public officials, her colleagues and representatives of the diplomatic corps.
The Speaker urged everyone to look at the achievements of Latvian artists and scientists, the wonderful programme of Riga as the European Capital of Culture, the outstanding achievements of our athletes, the Grammy award received by the orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga and Latvian Radio Choir, and the findings in quantum computing theory by Andris Ambainis, who is recognised as one of 300 most prominent European scientists. “Such achievements would not be possible in a weak country, and all of them attest to our strength. Our achievements in economy, science, art and sports are not chance exceptions. On the contrary, they attest to our potential to think, work and create on a global level,” concluded Solvita Āboltiņa.
In the conclusion of her address, the Speaker of the Saeima emphasised that “the state of Latvia did not come into being by accident; it is a deliberately formed and selflessly strengthened political project which we have inherited. We want to enshrine this certainty in the preamble of our Constitution, which we have to adopt by this Saeima. Furthermore, putting the fundamental principles of the state on paper will raise our awareness of our strength and thus increase our sense of responsibility for the future of Latvia.”
Full text of the address is available at:
Saeima Press Service