As in the previous years experts in the field of foreign and security policy as well as politicians and diplomats gathered to discuss current issues of international- and security politics on six different panels.
Muddling through or prepare for the worst and hope for the best dominated the tone of the discussion. Because there are no easy and clear answers to the topics of European strategic autonomy, the systemic rivalry between the West and China and how to deal with Russia. What is the answer to the question of how to end the war and how to build a stable European security architecture?
During the public discussion on the first day the main topic was the European Eastern neighborhood. The enlargement of the EU was discussed controversially. Yes, the process has to start as soon as possible. But cutting corners will not be possible, the criteria are well defined, exceptions cannot be allowed. But the afford, to also include countries like Georgia, was excepted by most speakers.
The focus of the conversation was on the military aggression of Russia against Ukraine. The Euro Atlantic cooperation in this regard were seen as strengthen by the new Finish membership of NATO, confirmed that day. There was a broad agreement for the plea of investing into military forces in Europe, for example reaching the 2% goal.
There was a good debate of how to end of the war in Ukraine and how to deal with Russia after the war. One participant pointed out, that the outcome of the war will not be decisive. The challenge of European security will continue for another five to ten years. In this regard, the cohesiveness of the EU and European countries are vital. Therefore, finding a currently lacking consensus in Europe on how the war should end has top priority.
There was no common ground on the aspect of continuing towards strategic autonomy for the EU. And at the same time how to go about the accession of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia to the EU without reforms.
China und its systemic rivalry with the West was discussed as a threat to divide Europe. Possibly, the US and the EU have different interests. Again, a question: How to tackle global threats like climate change, sustainable development, food supplies for all and social equality?
The Riga Dialogue proved to be the conference in Riga, where topics of foreign and security topics can be discussed openly and at times controversial. It is also the place, where the participants had the chance to exchange opinions with the president of Latvia, Egils Levits, and the prime minister Krišjānis Kariņš. This exchange between experts and practitioners makes this conversation so fruitful.