Global Business Briefing on U.S.-Baltic Security and Economic Cooperation


Corporate Council Co-Chair Karim Lesina moderates the discussion with Chairman Mihkelson and Chairman Kohls

On December 6, 2023, the Meridian Corporate Council hosted a Global Business Briefing with Mr. Marko Mihkelson, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Estonian Parliament and Mr. Richards Kols, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Latvia Parliament. The discussion, moderated by Mr. Karim Lesina, Co-Chair on the Meridian Corporate Council Executive Committee and Chief External Affairs Officer of Millicom, provided insight on the impact of the Ukraine war on the Baltic States, geopolitical competition with China, and the importance of partnerships amongst democratic allies. 

About the Parliamentarians

Mr. Marko Mihkelson is a Member of the Estonian Parliament where he chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee and serves on the European Union Affairs Committee. Mr. Mihkelson also chaired the European Affairs and National Defence Committees in the Estonian Riigikogu. He was also Head of the Estonian Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly from 2017 to 2019. Between 2000 and 2003 he worked as the Director of the Baltic Centre for Russian Studies. Prior to that, he was the Editor-in-Chief of the daily newspaper Postimees and from 1994 to 1997 he was Postimees’s correspondent in Moscow. 

Mr. Rihards Kols is a member of Saeima (the Parliament of Latvia) since his re-election in 2018. Mr. Kols serves as the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Saeima and as the Representative of Saeima to the OECD. He is also the Deputy Chairman of the political party ‘’National Alliance’’, a guardsman at the National Guard of the Republic of Latvia, a member of the European Leadership Network and is a Millennium Fellow at Atlantic Council. Prior to his current duties, Mr. Kols was the Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Saeima, a Member of the European Affairs Committee of Saeima and a Member of the Parliament. Mr. Kols also served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Culture of Latvia, an international affairs analyst at the Latvian British Chamber of Commerce and an intern at the Royal Institute of International Affairs “Chatham House” at the Russia and Eurasia Program. 

Here are some takeaways from the program:

The alliance between the U.S. and the Baltic States has been essential to stabilizing the region in the post-Soviet era. However, the 2024 U.S. elections will play a pivotal role in determining the U.S. alliance with the E.U. U.S. Support for Ukraine has become controversial at a time when the stakes in the war are at an all-time high. The strategic defeat of Russia will be necessary to further deter authoritarian regimes around the world from the use of force to accomplish geopolitical means. In addition, reliable partnerships amongst democratic allies are increasingly important in a time of global tension. Despite questions about the future of Eastern Europe, the Baltic States have a bright future as they continue their growth trajectory through diversifying their energy supply and strengthening their infrastructure. 

This program was made possible through the support of:

Project summary

Global Business Briefing on U.S.-Baltic Security and Economic Cooperation | December 2023
Number of Visitors: 15
Number of Attendees: 15
Regions: Europe and Eurasia
Countries: Latvia, Estonia
Impact Areas: Business and Trade, Foreign Policy, Security and Defense
Program Areas: Corporate Diplomacy
Partners: Private Sector, Diplomatic Corps