Summit. Romanian president Klaus Iohannis on Friday met his Latvian counterpart Egils Levits on the sidelines of the Bucharest Nine summit hosted by the Romanian capital. Talks looked at ways to consolidate bilateral cooperation, coordinating actions within the EU and various formats of regional cooperation, such as the upcoming meeting of the Three Seas Initiative hosted by Latvia on 20th June. Iohannis reiterated the importance of this organisation for Romania, with many strategic implications, from security to the economy, with emphasis on the transport and energy infrastructure. He recalled Romania’s decision to resume from 2023 its participation in the NATO air policing mission in the Baltic area, a move described by the Latvian president as a contribution to ensuring allied security on the NATO eastern flank. Speaking at the Bucharest Nine summit, president Iohannis said that NATO’s future strategic concept must reflect the new security parameters as accurately and realistically as possible, give priority to collective defence, define Russia as a threat and consolidate the Alliance at all levels. He also spoke about a strengthened NATO presence on the eastern flank, especially the Black Sea, which is most exposed to Russia’s threats.

Ukraine. The European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen arrived in Kyiv to meet president Volodymyr Zelensky and discuss Ukraine’s request to join the European Union and the country’s rebuilding after the war. On the ground, the situation has become dramatic in the Azov Sea port of Mariupol, where over 20,000 inhabitants were killed and the lack of hygienic conditions and food has increased the risk of epidemics, especially dysentery and cholera. The city’s mayor called on the United Nations and the Red Cross to create a humanitarian corridor to evacuate the civilians. The German health minister, who visited Ukraine on Friday, also warned of the risk of a cholera epidemic in the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia. He said Germany would boost medical aid for the wounded. The fighting continues in the east, with Ukrainian officials requesting more help from the West, including faster deliveries of weapons to halt the advance of the better equipped Russian forces.
Visit. French president Emmanuel Macron is travelling to Bucharest on Tuesday to express France’s solidarity with its European allies most exposed to the war in Ukraine, said the French president’s office. He is expected to visit the French troops stationed in Cincu, in the centre. The NATO Battle Group Forward Presence was created in May in Romania. The group is led by France, which also has an air defence component in Romania. This is the third visit to Romania by the French president, and the first since winning his second term on 24th April. On Wednesday, he will travel to the neighbouring Republic of Moldova to reiterate support for this country affected by the war in Ukraine. Macron has tried to maintain a dialogue with Vladimir Putin since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, but his position has come under repeated criticism from some European partners, who see his engagement with Putin as undermining efforts to bring the Russian president to the negotiation table.