RIGA - Latvia's accession to NATO 18 years ago is one of the most important national decisions that has been made since the restoration of independence, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) said in a press release.
He points out that this fact is particularly clear at a time when the world is witnessing an invasion of a democratic Ukraine by the Putin regime.
"Membership in NATO is one of the most important steps we have been able to take in taking care of the safety and protection of our children and future generations of Latvia," Karins emphasizes.
The Prime Minister notes that this step, together with European Union (EU) membership, has strengthened Latvia's position among the strongest countries in the world. Membership in the alliance has allowed the development of the armed forces and guaranteed that the level of national defense changes in accordance with the security situation in the world and the region, explains Karins, noting that there are currently NATO soldiers from 11 member states in Latvia, who are all helping to strengthen Latvia's national defense.
The Prime Minister points out that the government has already made a conceptual decision to increase the defense budget to 2.5 percent of GDP within three years. "On Tuesday, the government will decide on relevant amendments to the Defense Financing Law, which is planned to be sent to the Saeima, taking another step closer to achieving our goal of increasing defense financing," the Prime Minister informs.
He notes that Latvia, as a member of NATO, is not only a consumer of security, but the state is also investing and will invest more and more in modernizing defense, increasing both the number of soldiers and military equipment and technical capabilities. Latvia has also actively participated in shaping NATO's political decisions and has worked tirelessly to improve its skills and defense capabilities by participating in NATO-led international operations.
The Prime Minister emphasizes that Latvia has been working with its allies for 18 years to make NATO's military alliance more dynamic, stronger and more capable, as evidenced by recent NATO decisions, moving from deterrence to defense positions in the short term.
Latvia became a full fledged member of NATO on March 29, 2004.