Tag Archives: English

Atis Lejins speech: Security in the Baltic region

Speech by Atis Lejiņš on the occasion of a working dinner on security in the Baltic Sea region organized by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Latvia together with the Latvian Institute of International Affairs November 21, 2017.

“In the past few days we have seen a flurry of seminars both “overt and covert” dealing with German foreign and security policy, which will culminate on December 1, in a speech on fundamental aspects of German policy given by Mr. Knut Abraham from the Federal Chancellery for Security and Development Policy Department.

This indicates that something has fundamentally changed in German foreign policy. You don’t need a crystal ball to see that.

Just recently Mr. Bruno Kahl who heads the Bundesnachrichtendienst (Federal Intelligence Agency) publicly commented on Russia’s covert activities in the USA and Catalonian elections, stating that Russia is no longer a strategic partner of Germany but a potential danger.

Of course, the change came with the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and its aggression against Ukraine. This must have come especially as a shock to Germany because Vladimir Putin, in effect, copied Hitler’s methods in the annexation of Sudetenland and the Austrian Anschluss on the eve of the Second World War.

Suddenly the Baltic Sea region has become a vital security concern for Germany. ..lasīt tālāk

My speech at the ceremony of the US Marine Corps

On November 4, this year, a ceremony of the US Marine Corps was held in Riga, where I was called to speak – as a Parliamentarian and as a former USMC member. Below I offer you my speech.

I celebrated my 21st birthday in the USMC boot camp in San Diego. In 1963.

I gave myself a break.  Tired as I was I managed to get up from my bunk and make my way during the dead of night to the shower barracks where I treated myself to a long and enormously gratifying drink of water from the tap.

How did I end up in the Marine Corps after arriving in America three years earlier from Australia?

Back then the Vietnam war was heating up and ..lasīt tālāk

Debates on foreign policy, 2017

Here is my parliamentary speech in the debates on foreign policy in January.

Ministers, Excellencies, Honorable Presidium and Members of Parliament!

‘’The post-historical nirvana has ended! The prevailing conviction that the ambitions of great powers belongs to the past together with spheres of influence is gone”.

This was acknowledged by the director of the Latvian Institute of International Affairs Prof. Andris Spruds.

Are we really returning to a state of affairs  which existed in the previous century between the two wars? Then you had the conviction that it is best if everybody is for themselves. We know how this ended for us and Europe. ..lasīt tālāk

Latvju pēdas Austrālijā

Ko Tu neteiksi? Viena latviešu ģimene ir atstājusi topogrāfisku pēdu tur, kur tā dzīvoja 9 gadus – Greensborough no 1951. līdz 1960. gadam! Izrādās, uzkalniņu aiz mūsu mājas tagad sauc Lejin Hill, bet neviens no vietējiem neesot zinājis, kāpēc. Nesen sūtīju “Greensborough Historical Society” savu atmiņu eseju par vecvecākiem, un tās prezidents Noel Withers priecīgs atsaucās un pateicās par rakstu un foto. Tagad mistērija atrisināta! Katru dienu gūstu jaunu informāciju no Greensborough – no cilvēkiem, kas mūs atceras. Piedāvāju arī Jums izlasīt minēto eseju.

Remembering my grandparents: a hot Australian summer

by Atis Lejins, 2015 (English language editor Susan Tosch)

Update: PDF version with more illustrations (2.7 Mb)

I have already voted four times and soon I will have to cast my ballot for a fifth time which, hopefully, will be the last time depending on whether our next president gets at least fifty one members of parliament behind him. It’s a long, drawn out process as voting for the president is the only secret ballot left in the Latvian parliament where I am a sitting member. It’s taken us almost a day, tedious business but the tension in the former Baltic German aristocratic building is palpable. For the first time since Latvia’s independence was restored in 1991 we now, in 2015, have two equally good candidates but if we don’t get it done today we will have to vote again in a forthnight and then who knows who could turn up and what coalitions will coalesce to support a ‘dark horse’. ..lasīt tālāk

A Strong Latvia in a Strong Europe

In my parliamentary speech in the debates on foreign policy in January, I began by stating that the bedrock of a strong and independent Latvia is a strong Europe and NATO. (A strong NATO is largely dependent on EU structures). A month now has passed and I will expand my speech taking into account latest developments. I will adhere to the three main points in my speech: fight against terrorism, uncontrolled refugee flows, and Russian revanchism.

It is to be noted that the Angela Merkel has revised her position on the refugee question. Clearly the influx of refugees through open borders can become, or already is, a security threat to Europe as has partly been confirmed by the recent terror acts in Paris. We don’t know what awaits us in the future. ..lasīt tālāk

Challenges of the digital economy

At the end of April, I had the chance to attend the Meeting of the Chairpersons of the Committees on Economic and Digital Affairs, which took place in Riga, in the framework of the parliamentary dimension of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Events organised by national parliaments in the framework of their EU presidency are an important forum for discussions on topical EU policy issues in light of each presidency’s priorities. ..lasīt tālāk

A Country with Three Names

Bharat, Hindustan, and, of course, India. During Easter together with my wife Vita I spent ten days in India as guest of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). As the chairman of the Latvian – Indian Interparliamentary Group in the Latvian parliament (Saeima) I was able to gain insights into a fantastic country’s politics, culture, history, science and not only that. ..lasīt tālāk

The eastern Partnership from Vilnius to Riga: achievements, challenges and future prospects

The Baltic Assembly under the Lithuanian 2015 presidency organized a conference on the Eastern partnership with a view to what can be expected in the EU presidency Riga summit on May 21-22.

Representatives from the EU External Service, Georgia, Moldava, the Nordic Council, the EU parliament also participated. The representative from Ukraine was an MP from the Ukrainian parliament Jaroslav Markevich who had fought in eastern Ukraine for three months. In an emotional statement he said that for Putin nothing is impossible if he can get away with it. But for Maidan we would now have a reincarnation of a new Soviet Union with Russia and Ukraine forming its backbone.

The following is my intervention: ..lasīt tālāk

Security in Europe after Ukraine

24.11.2014, Riga – keynote speech at Baltic Assembly, Nordic Council, Benelux Parliament, GUAM PA, Visegrad countries meeting


Putin has chosen confrontation instead of cooperation with Europe and the West in general.

Despite president Obamas restart with Russia when Medvedev was president – and we must remember that some good things were done during this period, for example, sanctions agains Iran, and we can hope that this may become a historic day if an agreement is reached today with Iran – and Germany’s continuation of its Ostpolitik of dialogue dating back to Willy Brand during the Cold War – Putin has turned his back to such policies of cooperation. He has choosen instead naked military force and a huge propaganda machine as his policy instruments on a global scale to further his agenda in Europe. ..lasīt tālāk

Our Security in a New World

In the last week of April I participated in three important conferences dedicated to security. The first in Tallinn was called The Security of Mare Nostrum and Beyond: The Return of Northern Europe to the World Scene?, which was organized by the International Center for Defence Studies (ICDS). Here the main emphasis was put on security in our region with Ukraine as the departure point. Security issues were viewed in a broad context, including energy, gas supplies, and so on. The main question was are we on the way to a new cold war? ..lasīt tālāk