Intervention by Atis Lejiņš, MP
Our most important foreign policy and security pillars ar ooutlined in the very beginning of the report: a strong NATO, a strong EU, strong ties with the USA, and closer cooperation with the Nordic and Baltic countries.
This is written in stone, but the world is rapidly changing. The economic and military center of gravity is moving from the Euroatlantic space to a huge arc from India to Japan. In just twenty years China and India will take first and second pride of place as the biggest economic powers in the world. The USA will come third, but still with the biggest military clout. This was told to a a conference of analysts in 2003 in Washington and observe how quickly the USA changed her relations with India.
If the EU doesn’t pull itself together, then it can loose its influence in real terms in the new global state of affairs. The 20th century
belonged to Europe and America. This century could well be China’s, Americas’s, and India’s century.
In the second half of the report we see a summary of measures that would let the EU recover from the crisis and move forward in order not to loose its competiveness in international affairsw and the markets. I hardly think the our European Affairs committee will be the only committee engaged in this question.
The issue is abouth priorities in growth. What are our national priorities? The EU 2020 strategy is the force for change. Just now the world’s attention was held by President Hu’s visit to the USA. Did you take notikce? There was hardly any coverage in Latvia about this. The world took a sigh of relief after a more common ground was found than differences, including the issue of North Korea, who already threatens vital USA security interests. North Korean missiles can now reach the west coast of America.
Even over human rights President Obama found a certain understanding. President Hu acknowledged that still much must be done in this area in China. Big agreements were were reached which will significantly advance scientific and technological growth in China. At the same time the NATO member states France and Great Britain have agreed to pool their budgets in advanced weapons systems. What one state can no nonger afford, can now be made cost effective by two states together. In this way both states will cover half of all military expenses of the EU and 70% of all military research and development costs.
Why can’t we do likewise? We could also think how we could use our diplomatic resources more rationally, taking into consideration the big changes taking place as mentioned earlier. Do we need an embassy in every EU states with only one staff member? Perhaps we could reducē the number of our embassies in work more effectively in the EU itself? And increase our staff in Beijing?
We could open an embassy in India together with another Baltic state or another EU state, who already has an embassy there. In Sweden we had all three Baltic states’ information offices together under one roof during the Awakening, and which were funded by Sweden. After 1991, when we regained our independence, every Office became an embassy and went its separate way. That cost us a loto f money, because now the Swedes no longer paid.