President Dalia Grybauskaitė attended the summit of nine Baltic and Central Europe states, also known as Bucharest 9, focusing on the further strengthening of regional security, defense and deterrence.
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, and the presidents of Latvia, Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria also arrived to the summit.
In her plenary address, the President highlighted that geopolitical reality required strong unity and enhanced readiness of the Alliance. Russia’s militarization close to our borders remains intense. Therefore, NATO needs to be fast, strong and always prepared to respond threats emerging from the East.
At the NATO summit to be held in London later this year, the Bucharest Nine countries will seek for immediate implementation of the security measures adopted in Warsaw and Brussels aimed at higher military readiness, rapid and effective reinforcement and faster military response. To that end, decisions on NATO’s regional air defense in the Baltic States need to made, military mobility obstacles removed and decision-making within the Alliance accelerated.
The President also stressed the need to enhance response to cyber threats. According to the President, we are closely interconnected in the cyber space, the number of attacks targeting strategic sectors increase by 10 percent annually, therefore protection of the cyber space becomes as important as border protection. Lithuania demonstrates leadership in this particular area: it has launched an initiative to establish the EU cyber rapid response team and set up a regional cyber defense center in Kaunas in cooperation with the US.
The presidents of Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria adopted a joint political declaration at the summit.
It underlines that NATO faces the most difficult security challenges in a generation, both conventional and hybrid. Therefore, the nine states urge for advanced adaptation of the Alliance focusing on enhanced deterrence and defense.
The nine leaders also emphasized the need to maintain strong trans-Atlantic ties and increase the presence of US troops on the Eastern flank. The declaration underlines Russia’s aggressive behavior in the annexation of Crimea, tensions escalated in the Azov and Black Seas and breaches of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Taking these facts into account, NATO’s deterrence and defense posture must be effective and credible.
The 70th anniversary of the North Atlantic Alliance, as well as the 15th anniversary of the accession to NATO of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria, and the 20th anniversary of the accession to NATO of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary were commemorated at the summit.