One of the main items on the agenda of Rutte’s visit to Lithuania is to meet with the Dutch troops serving in the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence battalion.
Some 250 Dutch soldiers currently serve in the German-led international battalion. The Netherlands have also stationed their military equipment, infantry fighting vehicles and armored vehicles in Lithuania. Dutch aviators with fighter-jets have repeatedly served in NATO’s Baltic air-policing mission. Furthermore, Dutch officers serve in the NATO Force Integration Unit in Vilnius.
The Lithuanian president and the Dutch prime minister are planned to discuss security threats, risks posed by the upcoming Russian-Belarusian Zapad 2017 exercise and regional security, with a focus on preparations for the 2018 NATO summit. Lithuania’s objective at the meeting will include decisions to further consolidate collective defense, especially on the Alliance’s Eastern flank, help efficient and fast response to possible threats, as well as deterrence of the threats.
Just like Lithuania, the Netherlands actively support creation of NATO’s cyber forces and efforts against propaganda and fake news, the Lithuanian President’s Office said. Lithuania supports the Dutch initiative of creating a Military Schengen, which would provide Allied forces with free movement within the Alliance’s territory.
The Friday’s meeting will also address bilateral relations between Lithuania and the Netherlands, the most relevant EU matters and cooperation among the Baltic, the Nordic and the Benelux states.