The foreign policy of Latvia

Latvia’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union signaled the achievement of this nation’s goal in terms of institutional memberships. This also affords the country greater freedom of action and opportunities in terms of developing the country’s political and economic landscape along with unprecedented security. Additionally, the country’s foreign policy focuses on several things.

Improving Latvian and Russian Relations

One of the main focuses of Latvian foreign policy is improving its relationship with Russia. It primarily aims to tackle and resolve issues with its next door neighbor. One of the country’s main achievements is signing the border treaty with Russia.

At the same time, Latvian foreign policy aims to normalize Russian-Latvian relations. They have largely achieved this with a growing number of inter-governmental contacts. Additionally, several bilateral agreements have been signed recently. Even with this, Latvia has not entirely escaped from insecurity when it comes to the country’s relationship with Russia.

Joining the Nordic Electricity Grid

Integration with NATO and EU member states has been one of Latvia’s most important foreign policy goals for the past 20 years. However, integration was not fully achieved in 2004. The country’s separation from the entire European energy infrastructure was the most visible sign of this gap.

Due to this, Latvian foreign policy focused on making considerable improvements in building electricity interconnections between Sweden and Lithuania. At the same time, the foreign ministry has been heavily involved in negotiations with both of these countries to achieve much greater energy independence.

Latvia’s foreign policy has set greater energy independence as an important goal. This is because it has wider implications for the country’s internal and external stability along with relations with neighbors like Russia.

The U.S. and Latvian Alliance

Another important goal found in Latvia’s foreign policy agenda is maintaining a strong relationship with the United States. This is because many diplomats in the country have seen that America’s foreign policy focus has shifted away from Eastern Europe. It also led to worries that there is no counter-force to the increasing influence of a rejuvenated Russia.

Because of this, Latvian foreign policy has reinvented itself by providing important assistance to the U.S. in its continuing struggle against global terrorism. Although the country’s ability to contribute to much broader American policy objectives in Afghanistan was questioned, its contributions since 2009 have steadily increased.

Aside from providing troops in Afghanistan, the country has also become a vital element in NATO’s logistical chain. This important role resulted in much safer, faster and cheaper logistics for forces based in Afghanistan. At the same time, both the Latvian railway structure and the Riga seaport have been put to good use in order to provide valuable supplies to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The number of trains loaded with equipment and supplies that pass through Latvian territory has steadily increased. This would not be made possible without mutual understanding and cooperation among the Central Asian countries, the United States and Russia.

At the same time, this is a one of a kind win-win combination for further strengthening the country’s alliance with the U.S. while earning a huge profit from cargo transit. Opening a rail route may also have long-term implications that can extend beyond military interests because of its viable commercial potential.

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