Fighting for the Minds of Youth in Latvia


The most disappointing consequence of Brexit for foreigners living in the UK has become the unexpected rise of xenophobia. According to the behavior of locals, the EU's open door policy has completely failed. Brits have made it clear that foreigners are not welcome. Not only immigrants from conflict zones, but people from Poland and Baltic States face insults or even physical violence, offensive words, and calls to pack their bags and leave.

This situation has become possible mainly due to the inconsistency of domestic and foreign policy. Britain's activity in the EU was often contrary to the national interests and the population's needs. The government chose to ignore the discontent of the population. Locals became more and more irritated by the arrival of a cheap labor force from Eastern Europe and the financial costs associated with the provision of assistance to other countries, even in the sphere of security and defence. While helping others, Britain did not pay enough attention to its own troubles. Such a policy led to cases of showing hatred towards foreigners that are unacceptable for a democratic country. The hidden evils of society got an excellent opportunity to emerge.

Such cases should be a lesson and serve as a prerequisite for a review of foreign policy carried out by other EU countries such as Latvia. Latvia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs expressed regret with Great Britain's desire to leave the European Union. The fact is the EU exists because member states obey common rules and obligations. Any exception leads to disruption of its functioning. Rinkēvičs understands that Latvia as well as the EU will face additional problems with financing, immigration, security, and defence. In spite of increasing defence spending, today Latvia is less assured in its proper security than earlier.

In the Baltic States, there are also certain concerns of a possible rise of discontent inside the countries. Latvian nationalism could rear its head even higher. Latvia is often criticized because of manifestations of fascism. According to a study conducted by the National Defence Academy of Latvia's Center for Security and Strategic Research revealed on Monday, about 30% of Latvians agree that fascism is awakening in Latvia. Riga invites foreign troops and makes their deployment comfortable, but the government does nothing to stop young Latvians from leaving their home country and making their life better.

Latvian ultranationalists will for sure exploit the situation in Britain by attracting new members to join ultra-nationalist organizations and movements - the youth is their main target. Following the instructions of the EU and NATO, not taking into consideration national interests and the domestic situation may cause a flowering of extremism and ultra-nationalism in Latvia. An illustrative case occurred in Latvia on July 4th, 2016. ( Three young men were detained in Riga for desecrating the national flag.

Young men who do not respect their own country are the worst thing a government can achieve. It is just the right time to think over the situation in the country and draw the right conclusions from Brexit in order not to lose the young generation. It is time to fight for their minds by making the right political decisions and not to set common international organizations' priorities ahead of national ones. The British example should be a lesson for all of Europe in order to remain united and at the same time not to lose national identities.