Russia-Georgia conflict brings new challenges to EU-Latvia

  • 2009-03-04
  • TBT Staff

Peter Semneby, EU special envoy to the South Caucusus region said the conflict affects far beyond the Georgian borders

RIGA - Latvian officials, foreignpolitical leaders and experts during the Baltic Black Sea Alliance's (BBSA)discussion held in Riga, reviewed democraticdevelopments in Georgiaand its Trans-Atlantic integration challenges.

Participants of the event agreed that the situation in theworld after the Georgian-Russian conflict has brought new challenges,indirectly influencing the European Union (EU), including Latvia.

BBSA board chairwoman Sarmite Elerte opened the discussion andpointed at the similarities of the current situation in Georgia and thesituation in Latvia during the Cold War, which makes the Georgia's situationeasily understandable to Latvia. She was quoted as saying that Latvia knowswell what it means to fight for its rights and how important active support isto Georgia and also to Ukraine in their way to integration in theTrans-Atlantic organizations, the EU and NATO.

Latvian Foreign Policy Institute director Andris Sprudscompared the impact of the war in Georgia on the Baltic states and the EU withthe Sept. 11 consequences in the US, underscoring that these events have raisedmany questions about the future perspectives not only of Georgia, but also ofthe EU, the western countries and further principles in cooperation with Russiaand possibilities to guarantee security in the EU of the 21st century.

The European Union's special envoy to the South Caucasusregion Peter Semneby underscored that the military conflict in Georgia was atest for security systems beyond the Georgian borders.

Semneby said at the meeting that the largest EU challengeafter escalation of the Georgian-Russian conflict last summer was stabilizationof the situation in the region and support to development of Georgia's economicand financial systems, attracting resources from international financialinstitutions.

The discussion was organized by BBSA, founded on Oct. 31,2008. The organization unites noted politicians, media representatives,academics and representatives of non-governmental organizations. Theorganization aims to promote the integration of Georgia and Ukraine in NATO andthe EU.