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LATO is a non governmental organization established on march 21, 2000 with the aim of bringing together like-minded individuals who want to promote Latvia’s membership in NATO
Jul 18, 2022
LATO Interview Series #15: Three Seas Initiative Summit in Riga - Lessons to be Learned
The Three Seas Initiative is a 12-country regional platform founded six years ago, located between the Baltic, Black, and Adriatic seas. The platform, which was politically motivated but economically driven continues to work towards strengthening the so-called "smart connectivity" from North to South and back. By advancing the discussion about the necessity of addressing the shortcomings in the energy, transport, and digital connectivity challenges, the Three Seas initiative has demonstrated its potential as a mechanism for cooperation and investment that might continue to reduce the gap between Central and Eastern Europe in the future. Listen to the podcast produced by the Latvian Transatlantic Organisation where the Foreign Affairs Expert Mārtiņš Vargulis and Ambassador at Large For Three Seas Initiative at the MFA of Latvia H.E. Edgars Bondars provide the informal follow-up to the discussions of the Riga Summit of the Three Seas Initiative, given these and other crucial topics. The Podcast will offer a brief history, the importance of the initiative for our region, lessons learned, platform pillars and ideas, as well as trends on external actors, and the potential contribution of Latvia. The interview is part of a series developed in the context of the annual Rīga Conferences organized by the Latvian Transatlantic Organisation in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia. The purpose of the series is to keep discussions alive in between consecutive conferences.
Dec 10, 2021
LATO Interview Series #12: The Three Seas Initative: Bringing Central Europe Up to Speed
Listen to Daunis Auers, Professor of EU Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Latvia and Ian Brzezinski Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council discuss "Three Seas Initiative". “The Three Seas Initiative (3SI) is a Central European lead initiative to accelerate the development of cross- border transport, energy and infrastructure in the region between the three seas- Baltic, Black and Adriatic sea.” The goal of the initiative is about economic growth and development which is in turn an important check mark leading to common and regional security. How does 3SI fit in to EU policies and the goals set by the EU? Can 3SI bring Central Europe up to speed with Western Europe in terms of infrastructure and growth? What is the 3SI investment fund and what will it be used for? What can be expected from the 3SI 2022 summit in Riga?
Dec 10, 2021
LATO Interview Series #11: The Transatlantic Alliance is Challenged by New Threats: Does it Have the Required Unity to Succeed?
The Transatlantic relationship has constantly been important to Europe and the US while going through turbulent waters encouraged by political shifts on a regular basis. Developments with regards to Afghanistan are a good illustration on how sensitive and occasionally unstable the relationship can be. The withdrawal out of Afghanistan did not exactly go according to initial plans. This will certainly have consequences for Europe and its allies in ways that will be costly even if no military troops are based in Afghanistan. What are the new geopolitical challenges that might arise? What is the role of smaller countries such as the Baltics in the larger geopolitical arena? Are Europe and the US ready and able to tackle emerging threats?* * Listen to conversation between Sten Rynning, Professor, Danish Institute for Advanced Studies and Vice-Dean for Research, Department of Political Science and Public Management, University of Southern Denmark and Sandis Šrāders, Board Member of Latvian Transatlantic Organisation.
Dec 10, 2021
LATO Interview Series #14: Is the Chinese presence in the Baltics Underestimated?
The Chinese presence in Europe and in the Baltics increases year on year. Whereas the presence of Russia has historically been prominent in the Baltics. What kind of tools does China use to increase their influence in the Baltic region? Do Chinese and Russian interests overlap in the region which may lead to united approaches? Conversation between Shota Gvineria, Lecturer at Baltic Defence College, and Aleksandra Kuczynska-Zonik, Institute of Central Europe, Lublin and the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin.
Dec 10, 2021
LATO Interview Series #13: Is Burden Sharing a Priority Concept in NATO?
Burden sharing amongst NATO allies has high importance as it is a distribution of risks and costs towards achieving a common goal. The 2 % budget threshold is only one measure on how NATO members divide their responsibilities. How has burden sharing evolved amongst NATO members? How can the burden and risk sharing concepts be applied to NATO missions such as Afghanistan? How can burden sharing be improved? Conversation between Louis Wierenga, Junior Research Fellow in Comparative Politics at Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, Tartu University, and Eoin McNamara, PhD Candidate, Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu.
Dec 2, 2021
LATO Interview Series #10: 5 Years Later: the Evolution of Warfare, Disinformation and Cyber Security
5 years ago at the Rīga Conference, Elīna Lange-Ionatamišvili, Senior Expert, NATO StratCom COE and András Rácz, Senior Fellow, German Council on Foreign Relations discussed issues related to cyber-security and disinformation. This interview looks at the way that warfare and foreign interference have evolved or changed since 2015. How do foreign powers use our own weaknesses against us? Are new approaches taken to measure resilience? How do we improve media literacy to improve our chances against disinformation? How do we invest in our own defence in a smart way? To watch the interview from 5 years ago please follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NmGlke9j9Y
Nov 25, 2021
LATO Interview Series #9: Strategic Considerations in the Eastern Partnership Countries
Many European Union Eastern partnership countries countries are striving for development and moving closer to the European Union. Nevertheless, they are facing many challenges because of the necessary reforms, popular support, and external and internal challenges. Since they are at the eastern border of the EU, there are serious strategic considerations they must bear in mind. In this episode the focus will be on Moldova. In what direction Moldova will move further? Could Eastern Partnership countries could be the bridge between East and West? How NATO could support Moldova? Join the discussion between Victoria Roșa, Foreign Policy & Security Associated Expert, Foreign Policy Association of Moldova and Sigita Struberga, Secretary-General of Latvian Transatlantic Organisation.
Sep 1, 2021
LATO Interview Series #8: Three Seas Initiative
Three Seas Initiative is a regional platform by 12 EU member states, located between 3 seas – Baltic, Black and Adriatic. The platform is meant for fostering cooperation and investment in Central and Eastern European. Three Seas Initiative is comparatively a new project, only being active for a few years. Launched in 2016 by presidents of Poland and Croatia as a political statement, it is gaining more traction and recognition than ever. What is this initiative? Why is there a growing interest in Three Seas Initiative? Does the initiative work? These are just some of the questions to be addressed during this interview. For this episode of our podcast, Gints Amoliņš, Foreign News Correspondent, LTV and Wojciech Przybylski, Editor-In-Chief, Visegrad Insight, try to answer these challenging questions. The interview is part of a series developed in the context of the annual Rīga Conferences organised by the Latvian Transatlantic Organisation in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia. The purpose of the series is to keep discussions alive in between consecutive conferences.
Jul 30, 2021
LATO Interview Series #7: Resilience in the Spotlight
Resilience like many other things can be considered a buzzword. Resilience is being discussed in NATO, in the European Union, as well as many nations are drafting their own resilience strategies and concepts. Recent events, such as, COVID-19 and Suez Canal blockage, reminded countries to review and ramp up their resilience to be able to respond to different modern challenges effectively and rapidly. However, we have to start with a question – what exactly is resilience? Why resilience now is forefront in the security discourse? How will this change the life of the regular citizen? How can we asses the level of resilience? In this episode Ieva Bērziņa, Senior Researcher from National Defence Academy of Latvia, interviews Vitālijs Rakstiņš, Head of Crisis Management Department in Ministry of Defence of Latvia about resilience. The interview is part of a series developed in the context of the annual Rīga Conferences organised by the Latvian Transatlantic Organisation in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia. This episode is dedicated to The Rīga Conference Future Leaders Forum, which is an event that bring together young leaders that are interested in security, defence and transatlantic matters. The purpose of the series is to keep discussions alive in between consecutive conferences.
Jun 15, 2021
LATO Interview Series #6: Value of the Voice of Youth
There is a lot of talk that youth involvement and education are essential for shaping the future, so more and more institutions are trying to introduce a youth perspective. If we are speaking not only regionally but also internationally, several organisations also offer different programmes to young people, such as the UN Youth Delegate programme, the various initiatives of the European Union, as for example EU Youth Dialogue, etc. In Latvia, one of the largest youth involvement projects of this kind is the Youth Saeima. Nevertheless, do young people feel that their views are appreciated, and do they feel heard? Are these types of projects and programs more meant to educate young people or to provide them with a platform to influence decisions in some way? What could be done differently? What is the real motivation for youth to be civically, socially, and politically active? For this episode of our podcast, Elīna Smetaņina, Student of International Relations in Rīga Stradiņš University, Natālija Knipše, the Latvian Youth Delegate to the United Nations, and Selma Levrence, Human Rights and Environmental activist, youth organization "Protests" chairwoman, try to answer these challenging questions. The interview is part of a series developed in the context of the annual Rīga Conferences organised by the Latvian Transatlantic Organisation in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia. This episode is dedicated to The Rīga Conference Future Leaders Forum, which is an event that bring together young leaders that are interested in security, defence and transatlantic matters. The purpose of the series is to keep discussions alive in between consecutive conferences.
Jun 2, 2021
LATO Interview Series #5: Problems and misconceptions of Israel-Palestine conflict
The confrontations across Israel-Palestine are well on the way to becoming one of the worst spasms of violence there in recent memory. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has a long and complex history, however over the last few weeks the violence has escalated bringing it to the centre of attention. Both sides do not seem to be giving up, the number of victims are increasing and the Gaza strip is on the verge on a new humanitarian crisis. But the conflict is also in Palestine within – with two leading powers the society is divided now more than ever without any foreseeable solution. Who is leading the conflict in the region? Can we even define where Palestinians end, and Israelis begin? Is such a divide even necessary? These are just some of the questions to be addressed during this interview. For this episode of our podcast, *Toms Muižarājs* Political Journalist, LSM.lv and *Frederiks Ozols *Political observer specializing in Middle East/Asia Studies, try to answer these challengin…
1 hr 2 min
May 12, 2021
LATO Interview Series #4: Russia - Living Its Own Story
Ever since the sudden 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, Russia’s future and the actions of its take-charge leader Vladimir Putin have remained prominent topics within the international community. While initially expected by Western leaders to become a flourishing and proper democracy, Russia’s has proven otherwise. It begs the question - why is Russia doing that? Can this kind of politic considered to be rational? Does Putin himself believe the narrative he’s created of most Russia’s neighbours posing a threat to its safety? Do the Russian people truly believe that? Furthermore, why does Russia focus so much on Ukraine? Is there a real possibility of a full war on Ukraine? Will Russia’s elite and it’s way of life never change? These are just some of the questions to be addressed during this interview. For this episode of our podcast, Andrey Makarychev, visiting professor at Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at University of Tartu with broad experi…
Mar 23, 2021
LATO Interview Series #1: Protests in Belarus – Rebellious Spirit
More than 200 days have passed since Belarus held its presidential elections. A significant part of the international community does not recognize the results of this election. The Belarusian regime and its society are also under disagreement on the issue. The people of Belarus demand their democratic rights to self-governance, to influence national decisions and to have their fundamental freedoms restored. They demonstrate heroism, self-sacrifice, and solidarity despite the reluctance of Lukashenko’s elite to cede power and its attempts to maintain the previous status quo by all means necessary, including violence. Should the protesters regroup and develop new strategies to achieve their ambitions? What is the role of the Coordination Council? What is the old opposition and is it systematic? What is the role of the "All Belarusian Assembly" and where will it lead in the future? What is the role of Russia in Belarus? These are just some of the critical and unanswered questions asked…
Mar 23, 2021
LATO Interview Series #3: Moldova – Perspectives and Challenges
Moldova currently is at a crossroads between a pro-European approach represented by the current President Maia Sandu and a pro-Russian approach represented by its former President Igor Dodon. A changing international landscape, such as a progressive rapprochement between the EU and the East, may offer new perspectives for conflict settlement. What political turbulences and challenges impact and influence Moldova’s path towards European? Do Moldovans favour a pro-European approach? How has the COVID-19 crisis affected the pro-reformist movement in Moldova? Has Moldova become resistant to outside pressure? These and other questions will be addressed in this episode. In this interview *Iulian Groza*, expert on foreign policy, European affairs and good governance, executive director of the Institute for European Policies and Reforms (Chisinau, Moldova) and *Mārtiņš Mūrnieks*, Member of the Board of Latvian Transatlantic Organisation and Head of Eastern Partnership Program at the Bal…
Mar 22, 2021
LATO Interview Series #2: EU-US Relationship – What’s Next?
Over the last few years, discussions on the future of the EU-US relationship have become increasingly important. Even though a new administration has taken over some questions have lingered. Where does the EU-US relationship stand? Can we say that there is a unilateral understanding within the US towards its allies in the EU? Can we identify a lack of common understanding between Europeans and Americans? How was Borrell’s visit to Russia perceived across the Atlantic? Does the wish for strategic autonomy influence EU-US relations in the same way as “America First”? How independent can the EU really be whilst involved with the US? Can the EU viably look at military autonomy as an option? These are just a few of the questions that are addressed in this interview. In this interview, *Stanley Sloan*, one of America’s top experts on EU-US relations, the founding Director of the Atlantic Community Initiative and *Anna Ūdre*, Journalist and Foreign News Editor at Latvian Television…