Braze highlights strengthening Latvia's security and economic competitiveness as foreign affairs priorities

  • 2024-04-15
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The priorities of the candidate for the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Baiba Braze, will be strengthening Latvia's security, increasing the competitiveness of the economy and protecting nationals, Braze told members of the press today.

Following the announcement by Prime Minister Evika Silina (New Unity) on the nomination of Braze for the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, the long-standing diplomat said that the government's priorities in the field of foreign affairs and security are absolutely clear - they are strengthening Latvia's security, strengthening our position as a strong NATO member state and the Alliance as a whole, growing the national economy and increasing competitiveness, defending Latvian nationals around the world and developing the competitiveness of the European Union.

The Foreign Minister-designate stressed that Latvia can do more to prevent the resurgence of Russia's military capabilities.

Braze thanked the prime minister for her confidence in nominating her for the post of Foreign Minister, "which is a great responsibility".

Asked about her motivation for taking the post of Foreign Minister, Braze, referring to the statement made by Silina, said that both Latvia and the Euro-Atlantic area were currently "in a turn of fate", when the diplomatic service has to conduct several things in the security and foreign policy spheres. It is a great honor for a diplomat to be nominated for this post, and in a way it was unexpected.

Asked about her most pressing tasks as Foreign Minister-designate in the above-mentioned areas, Braze pointed to work in connection with the upcoming NATO Summit, strengthening Latvia's security with the presence of allied forces in the country and working on defense plans.

At EU level, it will also be important to work on strengthening security, including the European Defense Industrial Strategy, as well as on the EU budget, Braze said. In the medium term, Latvia should also prepare for its EU Presidency in 2028.

The return of nationals to Latvia should be encouraged as much as possible, and a proper diaspora policy should be implemented, Braze said, pointing also to the work of the consular service to protect nationals. At the same time, promoting the return of nationals is not only the task of the Foreign Ministry, it is the task of the whole society, the diplomat noted.

The development of Latvia's economy is one of the priority issues of the foreign service, where the emphasis of diplomats' work may depend on the foreign country in question. We need to work on attracting investors and a good example is the recent attraction of a particular investor from the Netherlands, the Foreign Minister-designate said.

As reported, diplomat Baiba Braze will be nominated for the post of the foreign minister, Prime Minister Evika Silina told the media on Monday.

Ambassador Braze has held various positions in the foreign service, including ambassador of Latvia to several countries. Before becoming the ambassador of special assignments in the summer of 2023, she served as NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy since May 2020.

Braze was unofficially mentioned as the most likely candidate for this post immediately after the resignation of Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) from the position of the foreign minister.

Other candidates from the New Unity's ranks have also been mentioned - former Parliamentary Secretary of the Foreign Ministry Zanda Kalnina-Lukasevica (New Unity), MP Girts Valdis Kristovskis (New Unity) and others - but there are various reasons why they are not considered realistic candidates for the post of the foreign minister.

The Saeima factions have expressed their willingness to meet the next candidate for the foreign minister. The next foreign minister is also traditionally interviewed by the president.

As reported, the post of the foreign minister became vacant after Karins stepped down, following the private flights scandal.