EDA Chief Executive, Jiří Šedivý, continued his visits to EU Member States with a series of high-level meetings and industry engagements in Latvia on 17 and 18 May.
In Riga, Jiří Šedivý participated in the National Armed Forces’ Industry Day, where he took part in a panel discussion focusing on the role of the industry in securing military logistics and reserves. In his intervention where he explained the EU’s three-track initiative on ammunition, he stressed that “the actual orders are key if we want to speed up the production and delivery of ammunition, only contracts will create binding legal commitments triggering investments”.
He met with Ms. Ināra Mūrniece, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Latvia, Lt.Gen. Leonīds Kalniņš, Commander of the National Armed Forces, Mr. Jānis Garisons, State Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, to discuss EU initiatives in support to Ukraine, as well as planned measures to strengthen the European defense industry and Latvia’s participation in European Defence Agency’s activities and projects.
“There is no doubt that Europe faces significant gaps in its military industrial capacities. In order to create a stable technical-industrial base in Europe, it is crucial to build on the already existing tools and platforms. We need to allocate targeted investment, in order to deliver a more regionally balanced and dispersed distribution of European industrial production capacities, to ramp-up supply chains and storage facilities, as well as to address existing slack in production capacity. We in Latvia are ready to step up our industrial capacities,” said Ināra Mūrniece, Minister of Defence of Latvia.
EDA’s Chief Executive also visited two innovative defense SMEs and discussed about their cooperation experiences, including participation in the EU defence initiatives: Brasa, a manufacturer of tactical clothing, equipment and military personnel support systems; and Exonicus, a developer of virtual reality trauma and CBRN Simulator. Exonicus will have a stand at the European Defence Innovation Days in Brussels on 31 May – 1 June.
The visit in Latvia was an excellent opportunity to present and exchange views on EDA’s ongoing activities and main milestones in 2023, including the upcoming revision of the Capability Development Plan, the organization of the second European Defence Innovation Days in Brussels, and the joint procurement of ammunition for Ukraine or/and the replenishment of national stocks.