In Bucharest, Foreign Ministers discuss security of NATO’s eastern flank
On 8 November in Bucharest, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linkevičius attended a meeting of Foreign Ministers of NATO’s nine Central European countries, which discussed the security situation in the region and the implementation of decisions of NATO’s Summit in Warsaw.
According to Linkevičius, it would be irresponsible to turn a blind eye to the ongoing Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, its active involvement in Syria’s civil war, as well as actions in the Baltic Sea region, where active efforts are made to destabilize Europe’s security architecture.
“The security situation in the Baltic Sea region has a direct impact on security in the entire transatlantic area. When we see actions aimed at worsening the security situation, we have to adequately adapt measures to strengthen the NATO’s collective defence and deterrence,” said Lithuania’s Foreign Minister.
According to him, the multinational battalions that the Alliance plans to send to the Baltic states and Poland should be properly trained and equipped to respond to any possible aggression. Moreover, all barriers must be lifted for arrival of allied reinforcements to the region in a timely and unimpeded manner in case of necessity.
In the meeting, Linkevičius also highlighted the importance of increasing resilience in societies, energy security, defending against cyber-attacks and disinformation, and other hybrid threats. “As this year showed, even the most capable allies are not protected from them,” he said.
The Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Bucharest reviewed Russia’s actions to destabilize the international security environment in the Euro-Atlantic area, especially in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea regions, as well as NATO’s efforts to strengthen security of its most vulnerable members.
NATO’s Summit in Warsaw on 8-9 July took a decision to send to the Baltic States and Poland a multinational battalion (dubbed the “enhanced forward presence”) on a rotational basis. NATO also agreed to develop a “tailored forward presence” in the south-eastern part of the Alliance’s territory, including a multinational brigade in Romania, and more air and sea forces.
The Ministers agreed that the full and immediate implementation of the Warsaw decisions must be the main priority for NATO activities. Therefore, efforts will be made to maintain the unity and solidarity of the Alliance’s members, to strengthen the transatlantic link, to promote closer cooperation between NATO and the EU.
The political dialogue among NATO’s eastern flank countries – Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria – was initiated at a leaders’ meeting in Bucharest in November 2015. Later, the dialogue was continued at a level of Foreign Ministries’ Security Policy Directors. Such meetings were held in Prague this May and in Vilnius this October.