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2020.02.14 08:58

Conference on security policy ‘existential’ for Baltic states begins in Munich

updated
LRT.lt, BNS2020.02.14 08:58

Baltic leaders are departing for the annual Munich Security Conference that gathers state leaders and ministers to discuss upcoming security challenges that are existential for the Baltic states.

Estonia’s International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) will host a discussion on deterrence, security and stability in the Baltic states that will be attended by Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda and his Latvian counterpart, Egils Levits.

Read more: Darling in Lithuania and Poland, NATO is losing support in Germany and France

“All three Baltic states are very small countries and in a bad neighbourhood,” Sven Sakkov from ICDS told LRT English over the phone from Munich. “For us, security is the most [important] policy, which determines how to survive.”

Therefore, having NATO and US presence in Europe is “existentially important [and] not just something nice to have, it’s a must,” he added.

Westernlessness, a gloomy topic of this year’s Munich conference, challenges the apparent loss of “common understanding of what it even means to be part of the West,” the chairman of the conference, Wolfgang Ischinger, is quoted by EurActiv.

“It appears uncertain whether the West can come up with a joint strategy for a new era of great power competition,” he said.

The forum will therefore be “a prime opportunity to take the temperature of not just the state of international peace and security in general but of the West in particular.”

The Estonian president will arrive in Munich too late to join the discussion, according to Sakkov.

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"At the conference, I will remind the world leaders about the security situation and the threats in the Baltic region," Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said in a statement.

"We will address the need to strengthen deterrence and defence, as well as the vital role of NATO in ensuring the transatlantic security,"

During the Munich Security Conference, Nausėda is also set to hold bilateral meetings with Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and President of Northern Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski.

During the meeting with the Canadian prime minister, threats posed by Russia and also the situation in Ukraine will be discussed.

The meeting with the president of Northern Macedonia will focus on his country's aspiration to join the European Union. Both meetings will also touch upon bilateral cooperation issues.

The Lithuanian president is also scheduled to attend a high-level investor round-table and meet with CEO of BMW Oliver Zipse.

"Lithuania’s achievements in financial technology, lasers, IT, and life sciences will be presented to potential investors with an emphasis on favorable infrastructure for startups and efficient business development," the presidential office said.

Over 500 political, business and academic leaders will attend the 56th Munich Security Conference.