The NATO Summit in Wales held on 4-5 September 2014, took place at a pivotal moment in European security. NATO is aware that Russia’s aggressive actions Ukraine will have long-term consequences for security in Europe. The decisions made at the Wales Summit reinforce Latvia’s security and defence.
Latvia regards the NATO Summit in Wales as successful due to the fact that the heads of state and government agreed on far-reaching measures towards enhancing the Alliance’s collective defence and rapid response capabilities. The central role of transatlantic bond in safeguarding security was also reaffirmed.
The Summit approved a Readiness Action Plan and adopted a number of related decisions aimed at enhancing NATO’s military presence in the eastern periphery of the Alliance, including Latvia. Latvia in turn made a commitment to ensure all the required support as a host country to enhance NATO’s presence in Latvia. The Allies agreed to reverse the trend of declining defence budgets and aim towards the NATO guideline of spending 2% of GDP on defence within a decade. Latvia had made this pledge when its Parliament unanimously voted in favour of the National Defence Funding Law in July 2014.
Latvia also regards decisions in the field of NATO’s partnership policy as vitally important achievements of the Summit. As part of the Summit, the NATO-Ukraine Commission convened for its meeting at the level of heads of state and government and held a debate on Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. A new package of support measures was also announced aimed at reforms in Ukraine’s armed forces and security sector, including the establishment of four NATO’s Trust Funds. Latvia has made a decision to contribute to one of those, namely, the Command, Control, Communications and Computers Trust Fund.
The meeting of NATO members and candidate countries assessed Georgia’s progress in the public sector reforms and endorsed a special package for supporting the efforts of this country towards Euro-Atlantic integration.
During the Summit, memoranda of understanding were signed between NATO, and Finland and Sweden on operational and logistic support; decisions were adopted on expanding political and practical cooperation with these partner countries.
The Allies concurred on the necessity to develop new capabilities to effectively counter hybrid warfare threats of the 21st century. In this context the Allies welcomed the establishment of the Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence in Latvia, which was accredited by NATO on 1 September 2014, thereby acquiring the status of an international military organisation.
The Wales Summit in also reiterated the NATO Open Door Policy, which is one of the greatest success stories in the history of the Alliance.
In conclusion, NATO members assessed the Alliance’s contribution made to the measures of ensuring stability and peace in Afghanistan and pledged readiness to continue support, if deemed necessary by the Afghan Government, after the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operation is concluded at the end of 2014. The Alliance and partner countries will continue providing financial assistance to the Afghan National Security Forces through contributions to a special trust fund. As reported earlier, Latvia will make payments to the fund for three years, from 2015 to 2017, in the amount of USD 500,000.
Latvia was represented at the NATO Wales Summit by the President of Latvia, Andris Bērziņš, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, and the Minister of Defence, Raimonds Vējonis. The next NATO Summit will take place in Poland in 2016.