Pabriks thanks Luxembourg for additional funding to decontaminate military sites in Latvia
On 1 February, Defence Minister Artis Pabriks had a remote meeting with Luxembourg`s Defence Minister Francois Bausch to discuss bilateral cooperation between countries, as well as cooperation within NATO and the EU.
Defence Minister Pabriks thanked Minister Bausch for the additional funding of EUR 5.7 million for removal of historical pollution from the former oil transshipment terminal found after withdrawal of the Soviet army in the NATO co-funded Air Force Base in Lielvārde - the airfield that is essential for wide array of tasks, including host nation support. This funding has been allocated in addition to the funding provided under the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed on 12 February last year - Luxembourg will provide Latvia a total of EUR 1.2 million from 2020-2023 to remove historical oil contamination in Latvia`s military sites.
‘The generous gesture from Luxembourg shows that we share common values with our allies not only when it comes to defence, but also in regard to environmental protection. I sincerely hope to welcome Minister Bausch in Latvia once we have restricted the Covid-19 pandemic to show the progress we have achieved,’ said Defence Minister Pabriks.
Implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding will help to complete the ongoing work on the environmentally degraded territories that are currently owned by the Latvian National Armed Forces. Once all projects will be completed, there will be no historical oil pollution left in the military sites in Latvia.
The Memorandum of Understanding also contributes to mitigation of impact caused by climate change and environmental degradation. It will help reduce the environmental impact of defence sector, which is also one of the current priorities of the European Union.
Latvia and Luxembourg have developed a close defence cooperation in the framework of both the European Union and NATO. Luxembourg has provided generous contribution of 3 million EUR in 2017 for strengthening host nation support capability. The funding was invested in the construction of 450 pax barrack at Camp Ādaži, which is the base for NATO enhanced Forward Presence battle group Latvia. The project was completed in 2019.