The Role of Denmark in the Renewal of Latvian Independence

Lasīt latviešu valodā / Read in English

Didzis Kļaviņš is a guest lecturer at the University of Latvia and Riga Graduate School of Law. He has obtained Ph.D. in International Politics at the University of Latvia (thesis title: Transformation of the Foreign Ministries in the Baltic and Scandinavian Countries, 2004-2012). He holds the Europaeum’s M.A. in European History and Civilisation (with distinction), jointly offered by Leiden University, Université Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne, and the University of Oxford. He has also studied at Uppsala University, the University of Oslo, and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Looking back on the recent past of the last 25 years, when Latvia regained its independence, it is important to bear in mind those countries that were alongside Latvia when the shoulder of a strong friend was needed. One of those countries that through its purposeful and forward-looking foreign policy contributed to the rapid return of the independent Baltic States to the Western family was the Kingdom of Denmark. The aim of this article is to highlight a part of the most important events and unexplored historical testimonies which have strengthened and expanded diplomatic ties between Denmark and Latvia and the mutual contact between their peoples. It is important to remember that Denmark was one of the most visible nations that helped Latvia, along with its neighbours Estonia and Lithuania, to be heard in the international arena and provided significant support to the efforts of politicians and diplomats from the Baltic States in rapidly renewing the independence of their countries. With Denmark’s foreign minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen at the forefront, Denmark strongly and resolutely supported independence for Latvia already before August 21, 1991. An important milestone in Danish-Latvian relations was the cooperation protocol signed between the countries on March 18, 1991, which stated that Denmark had already recognised Latvia’s independence in 1921, thus affirming the legitimacy and continuity of the relationship.

Published 25 August 2016

Author Didzis Klavins