Since the end of 90-ies the aims of Latvia’s foreign policy were to integrate into the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The 1999 Washington Summit offered candidate countries a Membership Action Plan (MAP) which will help them prepare for NATO membership. Aspiring members were asked to prepare their annual national programs on preparation for future membership.
Latvia’s Annual National Program 2001 was developed on the basis of experience gained while preparing Latvia’s NATO Integration Plan 1999 and Annual National Program 2000. It was also designed, taking into account NATO ‘Progress Report on Latvia’s Participation in the Membership Action Plan: 1999— 2000’ and valuable comments provided by Allied countries during the NATO-Latvia meetings of 1999/2000, as well as at numerous bilateral political-military consultations. The ANP gave a short overview of the progress towards NATO membership and identified the priority areas in 2001.
As a result of NATO integration policy, on the eve of NATO’s 55th anniversary Latvia joined it. On April 2, 2004 Latvia celebrated the appearance of its flag at NATO headquarters.
For Latvia, membership in NATO means a commitment to the basic principles of the North Atlantic Treaty. Latvian National Armed Forces are designed according to NATO standards and policies.
Latvia was actively engaged with NATO even before it applied for membership. Two years after joining the Alliance, Latvia hosted the 2006 Riga NATO Summit. In 2010 Latvian capital hosted Spring Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
The Latvian National Defense Forces (LNAF) were established in 1991, and tailored to meet Latvia’s security needs and NATO standards. In light of NATO membership and the need to develop joint military capabilities and its own armed forces, the basic principles of Latvia’s defense are the participation in the collective defense, development of professional armed forces, co-operation between the armed forces and society, and international military co-operation.
Related links: NATO; European Union; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia.