DIPLOMACY

Central and East European countries high-level meeting in Bucharest

Leaders of Central and East European countries meet on Wednesday in Bucharest to prepare the July 8-9 NATO Summit in Warsaw.

NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Slovak President Andrej Kiska, Hungarian President Ader Janos and Czech Chamber of Deputies’ Speaker Jan Hamacek will be the guests of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who co-chairs the meeting alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Iohannis agreed on the meeting with then-president Bronislaw Komorowski, his Polish counterpart, during an official visit to Warsaw on March 12, 2015.

In August, Financial Times qualified the event in Bucharest as the first concrete signal of Eastern NATO members that they intend to lobby for an increased Allied presence in the region, on fears of increasing Russian aggression.

Also in August, President Duda stated in an interview that he does not want Poland to become a “buffer” between Russia and Germany. “NATO is supposed to be here to protect the Alliance. If Poland and other Central European countries are actually NATO’s flank, I think it’s natural, as a logical conclusion, to open bases in these countries,” he said.

In February, President Grybauskaite had announced that Lithuania will temporarily reinstate the compulsory military service, as Russia’s moves in the Baltic region raised worries. “The current geopolitical environment requires a consolidation and acceleration of army conscription,” she declared.

Latvian Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis proposed in August the building of a wall on the Russian border, to stop the flow of immigrants from Central Asia and the Far East.

Upon announcing the date of NATO’s Summit in Warsaw, the Alliance’s Secretary General Stoltenberg said in May that it will take place in a crucial period for NATO, when the tectonic plates of Euro-Atlantic security have shifted both in the East and the South. According to him, the summit is supposed to outline NATO’s adaptation to the new security environment, readying it to defend all its members against any threat.

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