18 years since Latvia joined NATO

March 29, 2022 is exactly 18 years since Latvia became a NATO member state – and never has being part of the alliance seemed more important.

Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš commented: "Latvia's accession to NATO 18 years ago is one of the most important decisions taken since the restoration of national independence, which we are especially convinced of now that we have seen the Putin regime invade democratic Ukraine. 

"Membership of NATO is one of the most important steps we have been able to take in ensuring the safety and protection of our children and future generations of Latvia,” said Kariņš.

Today, NATO planes patrol Baltic skies from bases in Lithuania and Estonia, and since 2017 Latvia has hosted a multinational battalion-sized battlegroup as part of the Alliance's enhanced Forward Presence in the region. Latvia is also the location for the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence. 

On 21 November 2002, at the meeting of NATO Heads of state in Prague, Czech Republic, Latvia and six other candidate states were invited to join NATO. This marked the beginning of the last stage for Latvia for becoming a NATO Member State, which took place on 29 March 2004.

Latvia has also got involved in the transformation process of NATO by participating in strengthening of NATO capacities and international operations. Since 1996, when Latvian soldiers first participated in operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina managed by NATO, Latvia has contributed to NATO operations in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.

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