Saeima approves updated National Security concept for Latvia

On Thursday, September 28, the Saeima approved Latvia's new National Security concept, a document prepared on the basis of national threat analysis. It defines the basic strategic principles and priorities for the prevention of national-level threats. It also examines threats that directly and indirectly affect Latvia's national security. 

The concept was approved by 68 votes to 10, with 8 deputies not voting either way. 

Many of the revisions are as a result of taking into account the significant deterioration of the international security situation after the full-scale war launched by Russia in Ukraine. 

The document emphasizes priorities that include, the necessity of strengthening NATO's collective defense and the international role of the European Union (EU), as well as Latvia's active participation in international cooperation formats. 

The concept sets as a priority the strengthening of the comprehensive national defense system and the defense capabilities of the National Armed Forces (NBS). The concept's priorities also include countering the threats posed by foreign intelligence and security services. 

The document emphasizes the strengthening of the inviolability of Latvia's external border, the construction and suitable equipping of the NATO and EU external land border, as well as increasing the capabilities of the State Border Guard. Likewise, the ability to identify and prevent cyber threats is a priority for national security. 

While all of those priorities are pretty much to be expected in any account of national security threats, some others are more unusual or more Latvia-specific. One of the most controversial is the intention that from January 1, 2026, all content created by Latvian public media (including LSM) should be only in Latvian or a language that "belongs to the European cultural space". 

The financing of Russian-language content by the state will cease, which the concept says create a "unified information space". However, one inevitable consequence would be the closure of public media broadcasts in Russian on LTV and Latvian Radio, as well as the closure of LSM's Russian-language service. LSM's English language service would likely not be affected, provided the English language is deemed to belong to the European cultural space. 

Russian-language content will continue to exist in commercial media at private expense, the concept predicts.

The Cabinet of Ministers, based on the priorities defined in the concept, will develop a national security plan during the next year, which will include specific measures and means of neutralizing and preventing national threats. 

The National Security Law stipulates that the concept is prepared by the government, examined by the National Security Council and approved by the Saeima not less than once in each convocation (parliamentary term) by October 1 of its first year of operation.

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