Friday, 13.11.2020 - Friday, 13.11.2020

Conference on Arms Control and Security in Northern Europe

On November 13, a conference on arms control and security policy in Northern Europe took place in Riga and in an online setting. It was organized by the Freedom and Solidarity Fund Latvia in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation Baltic States. The conference focused in particular on disarmament treaties such as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty).

In principle, the conference raised the question to which extent a resumption of the debate on nuclear disarmament could bring added value. In this context, a proposal from the 1980s to establish a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Baltic and Baltic Sea regions was also discussed. This proposal mostly was considered as unrealistic and idealistic. However, the participants agreed on the importance of putting this issue back on the agenda in order to break up the current deadlock where more and more countries are withdrawing from such agreements. As national strategies, in this case, are limited, experts see an opportunity, particularly in regional agreements.

A cautious optimism prevailed in the discussion. For example, it was emphasized that since the 1980s global stocks of nuclear weapons have declined sharply. A second discussion was devoted to the question of whether and how arms control initiatives should be given greater importance in current political debates. Against the background that global disarmament agreements have lost some of their significance, the experts emphasized the importance of dialogue and the building of mutual trust.

After the event had to be moved to a purely virtual setting, the participants were able to follow the debates live online and use this platform to contribute their comments and questions. Additionally, a video will be produced afterwards so that the results are available long term and can contribute to a fruitful debate.

Baltic States

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