Karbauskis on relations with Poland – we have no other choice

Ramūnas Karbauskis
DELFI / Domantas Pipas

Lithuanian foreign policy has to be continued, but due to geopolitical realities it is necessary to improve relations with neighbours, particularly Poland, Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union (LVŽS) leader Ramūnas Karbauskis told LRT.lt.

“We think that current foreign policy should continue – we are EU and NATO members. The decisions which were made and supported in Europe and NATO, they have to continue. We have to maintain unity and political continuity. I see no issue with this,” Karbauskis said.

The “Peasant” leader stresses that stances on Russia and Belarus also have to remain the same. However it is necessary to interact with our other neighbours differently than up to now. Immediately after the second round of elections the LVŽS chairman declared that in terms of foreign policy it is necessary to strengthen relations with Latvia, Estonia, Poland and the Scandinavian states. When asked to specify what areas these improvements are needed in by LRT.lt, Karbauskis stated he had the synchronisation of electricity networks and matters regarding Rail Baltica in mind among other things.

“We have many questions that need resolving. I hope that it will be done. I think that Poland too was awaiting this Seimas election in the hopes of once again taking seats at the negotiation table. It is very important that there wouldn’t be any advance conditions, which would be imposed one way or another. I hope we will find the roads needed so that neither we, nor they have to make unacceptable decisions,” summarised Karbauskis.

According to him, the geopolitical situation is such that we have to do everything possible to improve relations between Lithuania and Poland. “We have no other choice and I believe that our partners in Poland understand this too. The current interaction and cooperation is definitely insufficient, you know that perfectly well. We have so many important potential projects, [that are impossible to complete without Poland]. For example try to imagine the synchronization project being completed without cooperating with Poland,” spoke Karbauskis.

That said, according to him this does not mean that Lithuania has to accept Poland’s advance conditions. “We simply need to sit down at the table and discuss eye to eye, that everything we do is for the people of Poland and Lithuania,” added Karbauskis.

To LRT.lt’s question whether this won’t mean that Lithuania will have to fulfil many Polish demands, Karbauskis responded that “I think that with a change of personnel at the negotiation table, the discussion could be more constructive. There’s a lot of politicking with us, but very little rationality. We will try to do everything to change the situation.”

Meanwhile Latvia is a strategic partner according to Karbauskis and Lithuania has to do everything to resolve all the problems that have arisen as of late. “If we do not solve these issues over these four years, then I do not know when we will… At the moment a Green and Peasant union is in power in Latvia,” commented Karbauskis.

LRT.lt already wrote that Lithuania and Latvia are connected by many strategic concerns, however are not always successful at coming to terms regarding important projects. There have long been talks of a regional LNG terminal, which could have been built in Latvia, but finally admitting that the Latvians remain dependent of the 2017 long term contract with Gazprom, a different path was taken. Similar things are happening with Rail Baltica where emotional, cultural and historical closeness fail to counterbalance pragmatic interest.

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