European Union (EU) has faced many strategic challenges in the security and defence sector which it should overcome. EU must become the leader in solving urgent issues in the global security arena, said Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Graube meeting with Chairman of the European Union Military Committee and state representatives.
On January 8 in the working visit to Brussels Chief of Defence of Latvia met with Chairman of the European Union Military Committee, general Patrick De Rousiers and on behalf of Latvian soldiers expressed the deepest condolences regarding the terror act in Paris, “Charlie Hebdo” magazine, where many people lost their lives.
In the discussion with Chairman of the Military Committee, Lieutenant General Graube emphasized the volatile security situation in which Latvia has started the Presidency of the Council of the EU. „Our presidency starts in time when Europe is surrounded by different threats,” said Chief of Defence of Latvia.
„The southern neighborhood struggles with volatile security situation which also affects the southern member states. The illegal immigration remains a serious challenge for these states and we should work on this issues altogether to support countries across the Mediterranean,” emphasized Lieutenant General Graube.
The spread of ISIL in the larger Middle East region is also concerning to the EU. In this regard Latvia strongly supports efforts to stop access to financial resources to such organizations as ISIL, assured Chief of Defence.
„Moreover, situation in the Eastern neighborhood is really alarming especially for the member states that are close to the conflict zone in Ukraine. Eastern Partnership initiative is an important element in stabilizing this neighborhood and supporting these states in their reform process,” stressed Cfief of Defence in the discussion with General Patrick De Rousiers.
Lieutenant General Graube also informed Chairman of the Military Committee about defence priorities of Latvia as well as about our input in the EU security, emphasizing that on January 1, 2015 more than 160 Lavian soldiers have started their 6 months service in EU Battlegroup. Latvian soldiers serve also in the EU Training Mission in Mali and counter-piracy operation „Atalanta”.
Chief of Defence of Latvia also informed general De Roussiers about preparation organizing EU Military Committee Away Day which will take place in Riga in May. He stressed that the meeting will take place during the preparation of the European Council conclusions and it will be a great opportunity to gather views and conclusions of states before the process.
In the meeting, Committee will discuss such topics as increasing the efficiency and visibility of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), development of military capabilities and facilitation of competitiveness of the European defence industry. The discussions of EU Military Committee usually cover the issues of development of military capabilities and the EU military missions and operations. In addition, the Military Committee will discuss such issues essential to Latvian field of defence as the EU and NATO practical cooperation, enhancement of maritime security and development of cyber defence capabilities.
Chief of Defence of Latvia also met with EU military representatives. The reception in honor to Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union started with moment of silence in remembrance of the victims killed in the terror attack in France. „The European Union faces several strategic security challenges in its neighbourhood requiring a serious collaborative effort,” said Lieutenant General Graube.
“The European Union must maintain a global leadership role actively engaging with our partners in the area of CSDP, most notably NATO. The EU and NATO share not only the same pool of resources, but also common interest and values that unify us in Europe and across the Atlantic in a constantly changing security environment,” said Chief of Defence, pointing out that to maintain this global role, work must continue on capabilities in the maritime and cyber security arenas, including through the implementation of the recently approved Maritime Security Strategy Action Plan and Cyber Defence Policy Framework.
“Military cooperation between EU’s member states is an essential part of capability development. Pooling & Sharing has benefited capability development missions not only in the Baltic States but also in the EU as a whole. This is clear example that defense cooperation is the key for secure Europe,” said Lieutenant General Graube.
During his visit in Brussels Lieutenant General Graube met with Latvian Ambassador, Representative to the Political and Security Committee in EU Andris Pelšs, with Permanent Representative of Latvia to NATO Māris Riekstiņš and Permanent Delegation of Latvia to NATO.