Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Youth discussion “Latvia in NATO – 5 years experience”

© Laila Bajare (Valsts agentura "Tevijas sargs")

29th of March 2009 marked the 5th anniversary of Latvia’s accession to NATO. Therefore it is important to understand and assess what has been achieved in those 5 years, what Latvia has gained acceding to NATO, and what should we do in the future to strengthen Latvia’s security.

In order to facilitate an open dialogue about Latvia’s 5 years experience in NATO and Latvia’s security aspects not only between decision makers and young people, but also among young people themselves, Latvian Transatlantic organisation, Latvian Transatlantic Youth Club and Youth Organisation of Latvia’s People’s Party in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence of Latvia on March 25 16:30-19:30 organised a discussion “Latvia in NATO – 5 years experience”. The discussion was held in the hall of the Ministry of Defence of Latvia, Kr. Valdemara str. 10/12, Riga.

In the first part of the discussion young people were addressed by State Secretary of Defence Mr. Jānis Sārts, Chairperson of the Defence, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee of the Saeima Mr. Juris Dalbiņš, Depujty Commander of the National Armed Forces of Latvia Brigadier General Juris Kikukucāns and Retd. Brigadier General Kārlis Krēsliņš. Distinguished speakers not only introduced the audience with Latvia’s experience in NATO during the last 5 years, but also answered numerous questions about Latvia’s security and defence in the framework of NATO.

In the second part of the discussion 36 Latvian youngsters, who were representing various universities, youth non-governmental organisations and youth organisations of political parties, were discussing among themselves Latvia’s 5 years experience of membership into NATO, trying to understand and give the answer to the question – whether Latvia’s membership in NATO facilitated its security.

The discussion was unique as it brought together young representatives from almost all youth organisations active in the field of international relations and security issues, including representatives from Latvian Transatlantic Youth Club, Youth Organisation of Latvia’s People’s Party, youth branch of the “New Era” party, youth branch of the bloc “for Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK”, youth organisation of the “Harmony Centre” party – PATRIOTI.LV, youth organisation of the bloc “Latvian First Party/Latvia’s Way” – association “Pirmie”, party “All for Latvia”, Latvian Conservative Youth Union, youth branch of the “Latvia’s Farmers Union” party, party “Civic Union” and others.

Photos from the event are available here

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