On 13 May 2016, in Riga (Latvia), the Baltic Assembly and Baltic Council of Ministers organised an international conference "Security in the Baltic Region: Current Developments and the Way Ahead."
The conference presented an opportunity for policy makers, researchers and media representatives to share their opinions on ways to strengthen the media in the Baltic Region, means of dealing with hybrid threats, as well as models for shaping a Baltic perspective on strategic recalibration of NATO and the EU. Since participants were invited to discuss priorities of the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy and the upcoming NATO Summit in Warsaw, it is expected that conference was a platform not only for identifying challenges and highlighting opportunities but also for finding answers to some of the key security-related issues in the Baltic region, thereby increasing the resilience of our states and societies.
The conference was opened by Dr Jānis Vucāns, President of the Baltic Assembly, H.E. Ms Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia and H.E. Mr Māris Kučinskis, Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia.
The conference was divided into three sessions. The first session "Strengthening media in the region" focused on exploring the possible options to further strengthen the media space nationally, regionally and internationally. This session was moderated by journalist Mr Pauls Raudseps. The main speakers at this session were be Mr Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, President of the European Federation of Journalists, Ms Marit af Björkesten, Editor-in-Chief of Svenska YLE, Ms Rita Ruduša, Executive Director of the Baltic Centre for Media Excellence, and journalist Ms Indre Makaraityte.
The second session "Addressing the challenges of hybrid threats" focused on disentangling the complexity behind the hybrid nature of modern warfare in order to successfully tackle hybrid threats and increase resilience at the state and societal level. The role of national parliaments minding the concept of "whole of government and society" was discussed in particular. This session was moderated by Mr Mārtiņš Daugulis, Researcher of the Latvian Institute of International Affairs and morning news anchor. The main speakers at this session were Mr Andrius Krivas, Vice Minister of the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Jānis Sārts, Director of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence in Riga, Mr Jonathan Parish, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning, Mr Pasi Eronen, researcher and expert on hybrid threats.
The third session "Baltic perspective on NATO and EU Strategic Recalibration" focused on security of the Baltic region in a broader perspective, particularly reflecting on priorities of the upcoming EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy and on preparations for the NATO Summit in Warsaw. The potential for closer cooperation between NATO and the EU, including more synergies in addressing today’s challenges in such areas as strategic communications, cyber and energy security, were discussed. This session was moderated by Mr Ojārs Ēriks Kalniņš, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Saeima. The main speakers at this session were Mr Andrejs Pildegovičs, State Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms Kyllike Sillaste-Elling, Undersecretary of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Gabor Iklody, Director of Crisis Management and Planning Directorate of the EEAS, H.E. Mr Michael Zilmer-Johns, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Denmark to NATO, and Mr Jānis Kažociņš, National Security Adviser to the President and Secretary to the National Security Council.