The Royal United Services Institute, in association with the Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian Embassies in London, hosted on the 10 December 2008 a “Baltic Security Dialogue” looking at Baltic countries’ current viewpoint on how NATO should strengthen its commitment in terms of mutual defence, Europe’s relations with Russia, as well as NATO and EU responsibilities towards their Eastern periphery.
Celebrating the year of the 90th Anniversary of the Independence of the Baltic States, RUSI welcomed Ambassador Jüri Luik, Permanent Representative to NATO, Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Sven Sakkov, Undersecretary for Defence Policy of the Estonian Ministry of Defence; Jânis Sârts, State Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Defence; Pçteris Ustubs, Political Director of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Andrius Krivas, Undersecretary for Defence Policy and International Relations of the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence; and Brigadier General Gintautas Zenkevicius, Inspector General for National Defence, Lithuanian Ministry of Defence; who opened discussions on Europe’s Strategic Environment, as well as Alliance Transformation and National Contributions.
August 2008’s events in the Caucasus have made Europeans think carefully about the broader security situation, not only in the post-Soviet space, but also across the entire continent. Having largely made the shift from territorial defence to expeditionary forces for instance, is the current posture and readiness of European armed forces capable of dealing with further strategic upsets on Europe’s periphery? Do Europeans share the same understanding of their strategic environment or even approach when it comes to the political and military elements of conflict management?
Often overlooked, the individual and collective Baltic States’ threat perception with regard to Russia must also be better understood by Allies and EU Member States. The Baltic States’ strategic environment, as well as security concerns within the wider Eastern European and Caucasus region, was thus debated amongst experts in the field, in order to present some of the more recent Baltic perspectives on these issues.
Discussions concentrated on the following themes:
Session One: Strategic Environment and Baltic Threat Perceptions
Chairperson: Jonathan Eyal, Director of International Security Studies, RUSI
Ambassador Jüri Luik, Permanent Representative to NATO, Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Pçteris Ustubs, Policy Director, Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Andrius Krivas, Undersecretary for Defence Policy and International Relations, Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania
Paul Johnston, Director, International Security, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Session Two: Alliance Transformation and National Contributions
Chairperson: Professor Malcolm Chalmers, Professorial Fellow, RUSI
Sven Sakkov, Undersecretary for Defence Policy, Estonian Ministry of Defence
Jânis Sârts, State Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Defence
Brigadier General Gintautas Zenkevicius, Inspector General for National Defence, Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania
James Squelch, NATO Defence Policy and Planning Division Country Defence Rapporteur, NATO Force Planning Directorate