U.S. Air Force Commander General Roger Brady told reporters in Riga on Dec. 11 that the principal aim of discussions regarding development of the air defense sector in the Baltic Region is to make the Baltic countries themselves realize what goals they should set, reports LETA. Commander Brady pointed out that discussions have been held regularly for over a year, seeking ways to develop the capacity of the Baltic air force and to enhance cooperation that helps to reach this aim. Cooperation with the Baltic airforces is carried out within the framework of NATO initiatives and through developing bilateral relations. Brady sees the U.S. as a ‘sponsor’ that can help the Baltic States become better security ‘producers’ and also ‘consumers.’ The general underlined the importance of Latvia’s involvement in international missions and spoke highly of the work done by Latvian troops. He praised Latvia’s obliging attitude, its hosting of NATO training operations, and expressed interest to develop tactical air support controller training in Latvia.
The European Commission’s plans for new fishing and cannery regulations could destroy the fishing industry in Latvia, reports Internet site nozare.lv. Businesses urge Latvian representatives in Brussels not to support the Commission’s proposal to cut the maximum level of dioxins in fish by 37.5 percent, and benzopyrene in sprats by three picograms per kilogram. Capping the maximum level of benzopyrene implies that smoked sprats in oil, a traditional Latvian product, would have to be withdrawn from the market. The proposal to reduce the maximum dioxin limit may result in a ban on sale of all fish caught in the Baltic Sea. Approximately 70 percent of Latvia’s fish processing industry use fish from the Baltic Sea, mostly sprats and herring. This ban could leave around 5,000 people jobless. The proposal to introduce the new regulations was made without taking in toconsideration the consequences that the measures may have on the member states’ economies, social stability and traditions.