For two days, dozens of distinguished leaders and experts presented their opinions on the most touching issues in foreign policy and defence of the Baltic Sea region and beyond.


  • Day 1October 28, 2016
  • Day 2October 29, 2016
  • 14:30 - 15:00
  • 15:00 - 15:10
    Welcoming remarks by H.E. Mr Raimonds Vējonis, The President of the Republic of Latvia and Mr Raimonds Bergmanis, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Latvia
  • 15:10 - 16:40
    NATO 360° 24/7 – HOW TO DELIVER? 

    NATO has stood as a cornerstone of security in Europe and North America for six decades. Today, its ability to continue playing such a central role is challenged by a changing security environment. What must NATO members do to maintain the Alliance’s relevance in the face of strategic challenges? Russia’s assertiveness and desire to change the European security order is a reality that must be factored in even as we aim for a better future for the longer term. There is a clear need to synchronize strategic threat perception among allies to strengthen European defence and restore transatlantic balance. Do different European political elites recognize that democracy is worthy of being defended by all means?
    Mr Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Secretary General of NATO 
    Prof. Dr. Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, former President of Latvia 
    Hon. Mr Harjit Sajjan, Minister of Defence of Canada 
    Mr Hannes Hanso, Minister of Defence of Estonia

    Moderator:Dr. Žaneta Ozoliņa, Vice Chairman of Latvian Transatlantic Organisation, Professor of the Department of Political Science, University of Latvia 

  • 17:00 - 18:30

    A complex mix of geopolitical and economic circumstances provides rather flat global growth perspectives, despite low oil prices and low interest rates. Three main pillars of the global growth – the U.S., the EU and China – vary. China’s growth is slowing, but it’s still the main source of global growth. The U.S. Federal Reserve has, for the first time, increased its interest rates seven years after financial crisis. With internal antagonism, slowing economic demand in Asia, and instability on its eastern and southern borders, the economic outlook of the European Union does not look promising. Earlier this year, the OECD called governments to act “urgently and collectively” to boost spending and combat stagnation in all advanced economies. What glimmers of hope and leadership do we see or call for when it comes to applying the OECD’s important message in real-time?
    Mr Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union
    Mr Edward Lucas, Senior Editor at The Economist
    Prof. Dr. Balkan Devlen, Department of Political Science and International Relations in Izmir University of Economics
    Moderator: Ms Jill Dougherty, Former Foreign Affairs Correspondent for CNN, United States of America 

  • 18:30 - 19:00

    The security environment in the Nordic-Baltic region has changed with a resurgent Russia and increased Russian military and non-military activities in the region. What are the ambiguous threats in the region – threats that have a ‘grey’ quality and may remain below the generally acceptable threshold of hostility (if any), threats that pose a challenge because of confirmation bias, the challenge of interpreting events and understanding different perspectives. What are the threats that may remind undetected in the Nordic-Baltic region? How can the ambiguity of threats be reduced? How does the region identify indicators and warnings?
    Mr Karsten Friis, Head of Security and Defence Research Group - Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) 
    Mr Niklas Granholm, Deputy Director of Studies - Swedish Defence research Agency
    Moderator: Ms Marta Kepe, Analyst at RAND Europe 

    In cooperation with  

  • 19:00 - 21:00
    Opening Dinner 

    Venue: Restaurant Klīversala, National Library of Latvia

  • 21:30 - 23:00

    Two years following the political regime change in Ukraine, the EU Association Agreement is provisionally applied, thus providing grounds for further economic growth. Ukraine still relies heavily on EU assistance to support its reforms. Despite continuous aggression Ukraine is facing in the eastern part of the country, Ukraine’s economy has stabilized after more than 10% downturn in 2015. However, it now seems that the reform process is slowing down and the living standards continue to decline. The IMF $17,5 billion bailout program for Ukraine remains contingent on government’s progress in economic and anti-corruption reforms. What is missing to bring more stability for Ukraine? How the risk of missed opportunity for reforms can be avoided in Ukraine?

    Sessions are held under "Chatham House Rule" and will not be broadcasted
    Ms Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration
    Mr Aivaras Abromavičius, former Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine
    Amb. Mr Juris Poikāns, Ambassador of Latvia in Ukraine 
    Mr Vladimir Socor, Senior Fellow, Jamestown Foundation  
    Moderator: Dr. Aleksejs Grigorievs, Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Baltic to Black Sea Alliance

  • 21:30 - 23:00

    The overall public security and relatively low public corruption makes Belarus into something of a post-Soviet Singapore. Nonetheless, it is still heavily dependent on Moscow. President Lukashenko has attempted to distance himself from Kremlin by condemning the occupation of Crimea and visiting Kyiv. Belarus needs more space for itself to manoeuver politically and economically. Economists expect the Belarusian rouble to follow suit of the Russian rouble’s continuous downward slide since the government has promised the public no devaluation. The Government's anti-market policies are likely to make Belarus even more financially volatile, making the only non-market economy in Europe even harder to keep afloat. Can Belarus opt for a more balanced foreign policy?

    Sessions are held under "Chatham House Rule" and will not be broadcasted
    Mr Dzianis Melyantsou, Belarussian Institute for Strategic Studies 
    Mr Andrejs Pildegovičs, Secretary of State, Foreign Affairs of Latvia 
    Mr Young Chul Kim, Country Manager for Belarus, Europe and Central Asia, The World Bank
    Dr. Arkady Moshes, Programme Director – The EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood and Russia research programme, The Finnish Institute of International Affairs
    Moderator: Amb. Per Carlsen, Senior Adviser at the Baltic Development Forum

  • 21:30 - 23:00

    2015 was a dynamic year for the EU’s neighbourhood: the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga was held and the European Neighbourhood Policy review was completed. Both the Summit and the ENP review reconfirmed a need for greater differentiation and more tailored approaches toward pursuing relations with partners. Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine are on the path of implementing the AA/DCFTAs and aspire for even closer relationships with the EU. The three other partners have opted for more individualised arrangements. EU-Belarus relations saw a breakthrough, and Armenia and Azerbaijan are in a dialogue with the EU on upgrading their legal frameworks. So, what’s missing? Why do we hear voices of fatigue, dissatisfaction and concern about the fate of the Eastern Partnership? Do partners have the political will to deliver on reforms? What can we offer the Eastern Partnership states, and how can we assist?
    Sessions are held under "Chatham House Rule" and will not be broadcasted
     H.E. Mr Andrei Galbur, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova
    H.E. Mr Linas Linkevičius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania
    Mr David Dondua, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia 
    Mr Christian Danielsson, Director-General for Neighbourhood & Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission 
    Moderator: Ms Natalie Nougayrède, Editorial Board Member and Columnist, The Guardian, United Kingdom 

  • 21:30 - 23:00

    NATO, Sweden and Finland share common values and security concerns. Lately, Sweden and Finland have strengthened their relations with NATO through their first ever participation in the NATO Ministerial meeting. In June, the US President Barack Obama welcomed leaders of the five Nordic countries at the White House. Both Sweden and Finland meet the requirements of NATO membership, however, in Stockholm, the coalition government is divided on the issue, and in Helsinki, most citizens are against membership. Given these realities, what sort of evolution in ties can we expect with NATO, and is a bilateral security arrangement with the United States an alternative for NATO membership?

    Sessions are held under "Chatham House Rule" and will not be broadcasted

    Ms Karin Enström, Member of Swedish Parliament, Former Minister of Defence of Sweden
    Dr. Artis Pabriks, Member of the European Parliament, Latvia
    Mr Benjamin G. Ziff, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, United States of America
    Dr. Pauli Järvenpää, Senior Research Fellow, International Centre for Defence and Security, Estonia

    Moderator: Mr Craig Kennedy, Former President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States

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