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LMC 2024

Let us not despair, but act

The 17th Lennart Meri Conference (LMC) will take place on 16-18 May 2024, in Tallinn, Estonia.

The world is becoming more chaotic, there is war in Europe and in the Middle East, and tensions are rising in the Indo-Pacific. Amid constant crises, it can be easy to feel helpless, and difficult to find new ways to protect our societies, rules, and values. Nevertheless, we can be inspired by the words of then Senator John F. Kennedy – Let us not despair, but act.

Last year’s LMC focused on the new arrangements for security and the international order that will be needed following the return of large-scale war to Europe. The conference offered a forum for decision makers and analysts to weigh the difficulties of managing an emerging multipolar world order. The overall atmosphere was one of continuing shock at the horrors of Russia’s war in Ukraine, but at the same time one of optimism for the emergence of a new security order.

This year we want to take stock of what has been done since Russia’s full-scale invasion and consider how to move forward in a way that makes us all stronger and more secure. Following Russia’s brutal aggression, liberal democracies quickly recognised the need for new and broader thinking about security and defence. 2024 marks the 75th anniversary of NATO. The Washington Summit will offer a perfect opportunity for Allies to recommit to their shared values and trans-Atlanticism, to properly resource collective defence and to demonstrate readiness to address new challenges.

Ukraine needs our continuous support in its war effort and in its integration with the Euro-Atlantic institutions. The war has clearly demonstrated the dangers of allowing grey zones to exist close to aggressors. Russia shows no intention of stopping its aggression and, with aid from its few allies, has managed to keep its economy afloat and its defence industry working.

In the face of a changing global world order and weakening support for the democratic model we need to find a way to more effectively communicate with countries around the world to together advance peace and security.

In 2024, elections in both the EU and the US will test the resilience of our democracies to growing disinformation. The outcome of these elections will shape the transatlantic relationship for the coming years.

The recent incidents in the Baltic Sea highlight the vulnerability of critical infrastructure and the need to increase resilience against accidents, natural disasters, and hybrid attacks. At the same time, we continue to have vulnerable dependencies in our supply chains, highlighting the need for de-risking in key sectors.

In short, we need to prepare our societies for the hard choices that a greater focus on security and defence necessitates. The crises will continue, and it is unlikely the world will be more peaceful tomorrow. To move forward, we must all have courage and self-confidence in our values and strengths. We must not despair, but act. These are some of the issues that we will consider at the LMC, both as a contribution to policy making and as a vehicle to move forward the public debate.