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Openly about National Security Threats

05.02.2018 Latvijā

Foto: Ernests Dinka, Saeima

Multiple challenges faced by Europe:
• clash of left-wing and conservative values;
• low birth rates across Europe;
• mass migration from third world countries, terrorism and spread of Islam;
• wealth gap between European countries, which has led to several millions of Eastern Europeans moving to Western Europe;
• aggressive behaviour of the nuclear state in the Eastern neighbourhood of Europe.

Latvians, being a numerically small nation, must find a smart approach to solving these challenges and ensuring continued development of our nation, language, and culture throughout the centuries.

The collision between those propagating right-wing or conservative values and those who support left-wing or liberal and socialist values emerged some time ago. One of these groups advocates time-tested values and the need to preserve the identity and future of European nations. The other one aims to undermine the concept of national identity and attempts to fuse the nations into a homogeneous grey social mass.

Martin Shulz, leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, who has been advocating for a United State of Europe to be created by 2025, is probably one of the best examples of a far-left politician. Jean Claude Juncker is another example and a politician who has not only supported immigration and driven wedge between member states over refugee relocation, but also dares to call Poland and other Eastern European countries racist only because these countries have refused to take in migrants from other terrorism-plagued regions of the worlds.

To be honest, I think these two high-ranking EU officials are sabotaging the European project. Their actions divide Europe. They have no right to impose their personal whims upon EU member states. Both officials have no right to scorn member states. Juncker was not elected by the citizens of Poland, Latvia, and other European countries. So, Juncker should not abuse the legitimate power given to him and should refrain from interfering with decisions of a sovereign state. Latvia wants a united European Union, a union of sovereign states, not one federal state.

Demographics

Latvia is nothing without Latvians. Similarly, Europe is nothing without Europeans. Latvia has managed to significantly improve the country’s birth rate, but it is far from a healthy one where a nation is capable of reproducing itself. Despite this, Latvia is above many countries when it comes to fertility rate.

The different standards of living in Europe, which have driven several millions of Eastern Europeans out of their home countries and into Western Europe, pose equally big challenges. The National Alliance succeeded in including a recommendation into the annual foreign policy report to adopt the Diaspora Law within one year. However, the EU’s demographic challenges and different living standards need to be addressed at the European level, not by individual member states. It is our common problem. The European Commission and Parliament should focus on addressing these challenges, instead of dealing with issues of minor importance or impact.

The National Alliance thinks that demographic problems should not be solved by allowing workforce from third countries to come to Europe, be they economic migrants or asylum seekers. Therefore, our political group asked the Foreign Service to include in its foreign policy report a clear indication that Latvia will not support any newly-proposed relocation and resettlement schemes. We also believe that any infringements launched by the European Commission against EU member states, which have refused to accommodate asylum seekers relocated under the common EU scheme, shall be considered undue interference with decision-making sovereignty of such states.

We should have said loud and clear: Latvia, together with other like-minded countries, will not support continued immigration. We have the public support for that. According to a Eurobarometer poll, 86% of Latvians think that these migrants will contribute nothing to our country . End of discussion. Latvia will have to either fully reject migrants from third countries or minimise the number of migrants relocated to Latvia.


Security challenges and partnerships

Islamic terrorism cannot be ignored. It is a huge problem. Several hundred Europeans have been killed and several thousand more have been wounded in attacks carried out in recent years. Latvians who are freely moving around the EU are also exposed to terrorist attacks. Europe should stop treating these radicals nicely. We should act decisively, both at the national and international level, before another horrendous act of terror is committed.

We have an aggressive nuclear power as neighbour, responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in recent years, as well as the occupation of parts of Ukraine and Georgia. Its economy is weak. Russia’s GDP is miniscule. Latvian GDP per capita is 40% bigger than that of Russia. Although Russia lacks economic power, it continues to invest heavily in its military and exerts its soft power over other countries in various ways. Russia wants to strengthen its influence over neighbouring countries of the region, including Latvia. Latvia is exposed to all kinds of threats, but the only real threat to our freedom currently comes from Russia. Anyone in their right mind can see it. Latvia’s foreign policy should be aimed at reducing such threats.

It is important for Latvia to closely cooperate with countries that share our goal of strengthening the economies of Baltic countries and making them less dependent on Russia. Close cooperation with our strategic partners is paramount. Latvia must continue supporting the initiatives of the US through international organisations and we appreciate the support of the US on issues that are important to us.

The National Alliance insisted on including Latvia’s intent to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the report. It is one of Latvia’s security priorities, and in coming years our Foreign Service will consistently and actively work towards this objective. Latvia supports all efforts aimed at boosting the efficiency of the UN Security Council, ending the abuse of veto rights in cases of mass war crimes, and restoring the trust in the Security Council as an institution working for peace and prosperity across the globe.

Latvia wants NATO to be strong. The Baltic countries, Poland, Romania, Great Britain, Greece and the USA are already spending 2% of their GDP on defence. We urge other NATO countries to make the organisation stronger by committing more funds to defence needs.

As we are faced with similar security and economic challenges, we must also intensify cooperation with countries in our region – Poland, Ukraine, and others. Regional interoperability will be crucial for European geopolitics of the 21st century.

The National Alliance also suggested for the report to emphasise the promotion of export to and business cooperation with the US and Canada as one of Latvia’s key external trade priorities. It is equally important for Latvian economy to continue attracting investment from these countries. Both countries are big and wealthy, and they also contribute to strengthening the freedom of the Baltic countries by offering practical support. Latvia should deepen its trade relations with these countries.

Future relations with the UK is another top issue. We have to respect the vote of the British people to leave the EU. However, we should not forget that Great Britain is still a NATO member state and continues to contribute to strengthening the security of the Baltics. We will oppose all attempts to weaken the UK because of the referendum vote. Neither Latvia nor other allies will benefit from that.

The National Alliance has repeatedly, over a longer period of time, urged for and actively implemented preventive measures aimed at reducing hybrid threats. We have tackled all kinds of anti-Latvian attacks such as cyber-attacks and propaganda campaigns financed by foreign NGOs or media. The fight for people’s minds will continue. We will not allow for democracy to be abused for the sake of desecrating it.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our state was established hundred years ago. Our freedom was won by Latvian soldiers. As we celebrate the centenary of our country, we remain firmly committed to the goal of having a strong, fair, and independent state with its own national identity. May our nation, language, and culture live and grow forever. May Latvians feel safe here and prosper. Our future policies, in the coming years, will be aimed at strengthening the foundations laid down in our constitution, Satversme.

Jānis Dombrava
Member of the Saeima, Vice-president of the National Alliance

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