President Gitanas Nausėda convened a meeting of the Foreign Policy Coordination Council to discuss key priorities and objectives in foreign policy in 2021, the President‘s Communication Group wrote in a press release.
“We are a country that defends democratic values, human rights and freedoms, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and we strongly support the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of the Eastern Partnership countries. The implementation of foreign policy priorities requires coordinated and consistent action by all institutions operating in the field of foreign policy”, the President said.
The President emphasized that foreign policy priorities would continue along the same line: ensuring national security through NATO, active participation in the EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative as well as prevention of the threats posed by the Astravyets NPP at the EU level.
The first part of the Foreign Policy Coordination Council meeting focused on the assessment of the situation in Belarus and long-term policy in respect of this country. The Council decided that a long-term strategy defining relations with Belarus, including political, economic, security, cultural and historical elements should be developed. The meeting unanimously emphasized that the Astravyets NPP poses threat to national security, health of the population and the environment, therefore management of this threat remains among the most important tasks of foreign and energy policy. Foreign policy experts also agreed to consolidate all diplomatic efforts on effective implementation of the decisions of the European Council and prevent electricity from unsafe nuclear power plants in the third countries from entering the EU market.
During the closed session of the meeting national security and NATO agendas were discussed. It was agreed to prepare for the forthcoming NATO Summit in a coordinated manner by drafting a detailed interinstitutional analysis of the NATO 2030 report and assessing the potential impact of the recommendations on Lithuania’s defense and security interests.
As to the EU agenda, the debate focused on EU measures to control the spread of the COVID-19 and ensure transparency in the distribution of vaccines among the member states. It was also agreed to look for possibilities to help supply vaccines to the Eastern Partnership countries.
The participants of the Foreign Policy Coordination Council meeting agreed to pay special attention to the effective planning and investment of the funds from the EU multiannual financial framework and recovery fund. Priority areas are Lithuania’s economic competitiveness and implementation of climate change goals. The president called upon heads of institutions to focus on participation in EU centralized management programs, such as the Horizon, development cooperation and protection of external borders. The importance of achieving climate change targets by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent, was also stressed.
As for the Eastern Partnership policy, the Coordination Council agreed to actively prepare for the forthcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in 2021, enhance Lithuania’s support for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia which demonstrate their aspirations for Euro-Atlantic integration and get back to regional initiatives taking into account the shared history and heritage of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
The first remote meeting of the Foreign Affairs Coordination Council was also attended by Speaker of the Seimas Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Seimas Žygimantas Pavilionis and Chair of the Committee on European Affairs of the Seimas Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė. Experts on the Eastern European policy will also take part in the debate, including Head of the Eastern Europe Studies Centre Linas Kojala, Director of Institute for International Relations and Political Science of Vilnius University Margarita Šešelgytė, Dean of the Faculty for Political Science and Diplomacy of Vytautas Magnus University Šarūnas Liekis.