Latvian President says internal security must be priority

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Internal security should be a national priority in future years, according to a statement by the President of Latvia, Egils Levits, January 25.

The statement was released following an online conversation with Interior Minister Sandis Ģirģens and the heads of the State Police, the State Security Service, the State Border Guard and the State Fire and Rescue Service regarding the strengthening of the internal security of the country.

During the meeting, Ģirģens and the heads of internal security services pointed to the unsatisfactory infrastructure, the material-technical base and the acute need for additional resources to strengthen services that do not receive adequate financial resources for these purposes for a long time.

The Minister said that there is an urgent need to improve the working environment, restore service equipment, road transport. There is a need for wage increases for the sector, which, according to Ģirģens, is not competitive with similar professions.

Support for internal security must be equivalent to that of the other two Baltic States, said Ģirģens.

He also pointed to the needs to digitize the process, improve digital skills of employees, create cyber police and fight against Internet crime. The Minister said that ensuring internal security is a basic function of the State. It should be supported systematically, strategically and to a sufficient extent by planning  the national budget.

President Levits said: "While our country's external security has been a national priority since 2014 and the need for 2% gross domestic product funding is self-evident today, our national internal security has long been neglected. (..) However, the national security of our country covers both external security, which is the responsibility of the defense sector, and internal security, which is based on the responsibility of the interior affairs sector."

According to the President, external and internal security are two sides of one coin. "Only if both external and internal security are at a sufficiently high level can we be safe for our country," said Levits.

"Therefore, internal security, its systemic reinforcement – including taking into account the new threats to the digital environment – should be seen in general as a single national task that needs to be done in the coming years. This requires a common vision of internal security in general, and a concrete plan to systematically and purposefully improve it – which is to be addressed already this year. This plan must be politically accepted and should be guided by the country's annual budget," said the President.


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