Warsaw Summit Experts' Forum

Nato in defence of peace: 2016 and beyond

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Raimonds Vējonis
President of Latvia
Raimonds Vējonis is a Latvian biologist and politician, and the President of Latvia since 8 July 2015. Before that, he was the Minister of Defence of Latvia and the Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development for almost nine years, and he was a MP of the Saeima (Latvian Parliament) as well.

After graduating from university, Raimonds Vējonis became Deputy Director of Madona Regional Environmental Board getting the chance to work in order to establish and develop a new institution. In parallel, he was also a member of Madona City Council from 1990 to 1993. In 1990, he joined the Latvian Green Party, because he was engaged in various environmental protection activities when the Atmoda (National Movement Awakening) was developing.
Raimonds Vējonis became the Director of newly established Greater Riga Regional Environmental Board in 1996. That institution then merged former Riga and Ogre Administrations, with new obligations being assigned such as engagement in territory planning process and solving ecological problems of River Daugava basin.
 
Upon entering that post, Raimonds Vējonis stressed that environmental inspectors would be imposed even more stringent requirements henceforth and that they should be harsh and ruthless against polluters and destroyers of nature.

Year 2014 was a turning point in career of Raimonds Vējonis, when he became the Minister of Defence of Latvia. He prioritised strengthening of Latvia’s defence capabilities within NATO in his work. Under his leadership, implementation of long-term development plan of the National Armed Forces and strengthening of cooperation with NATO partners were consistently continued. Having actively defended such a necessity, Raimonds Vējonis reached approval of a plan for gradual increases to defence spending up to 2% of GDP, while the Cabinet of Ministers approved practical measures ready to facilitate the self-defence capacity of Latvia.
 
During his political career, Raimonds Vējonis has been elected to the 9th, 10th, and 11th Saeima. During the 11th convocation of the Saeima, he worked in the area of foreign policy and national development areas, as was the President and the Vice President of the Baltic Assembly, the Vice-President of the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference, led the Baltic Affairs Subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Saeima and the Latvian delegation to the Baltic Assembly. Raimonds Vējonis has been a Member of the National Security Committee, the Public Administration and Local Government Committee of the Saeima, as well as the Strategic Development Commission under the auspices of the President of Latvia. He has also led the Subcommittee on Monitoring the Drafting and Implementation of the National Development Plan.

On 8 July 2015, Raimonds Vējonis officially became the President of Latvia. The Saeima elected Raimonds Vējonis as the President of Latvia in the fifth voting on June 3, when 55 MPs supported his candidacy.
 
Upon appointment, Raimonds Vējonis outlined that national security would be among his major priorities. It also included international security, by stressing that Latvia should be able to protect itself together with NATO allies. Raimonds Vējonis also committed to facilitation of peaceful coexistence of all the peoples living in Latvia in order to avoid any social unrest.
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