According to the president, the situation has changed dramatically since this spring and early summer, migration flows have reached critical proportions. This, President Grybauskaitė notes, represents the most intense migration of people in recent times, surpassing even the one seen during World War Two.
“It is indeed a huge problem. We must take it seriously. This means that all countries must show understanding and solidarity with those states that have the biggest influx, to respond to Germany’s call to be constructive and deal with the problem,” President Grybauskaitė said in an interview to the LRT radio.
She adds that concerns voiced by Germany and some other countries are understandable and should be viewed in a different light than before.
“Lithuania, doubtlessly, hears the call, understands it and is prepared to act in solidarity in looking for solutions together with all European countries. This means that we must be ready to help those in need of our help, especially people fleeing war. We cannot remain indifferent. Not because there is someone’s recommendation to that effect. We understand well our responsibility. We understand the element of solidarity which applies to us, too. We felt solidarity from others when we needed security, financial solidarity when Lithuania was in a deep crisis. Lithuania is therefore a European state and we will work on this issue along with all the other countries,” the Lithuanian president says.
Asked what specific steps will be taken, Grybauskaitė has noted that the new plan will be worked out among all the countries of the European Union.
“Together with the government, we will discuss how Lithuania could contribute. The new common European migration policy model will be reviewed and developed anew. As soon as September 14, interior ministers will convene with Minister Saulius Skvernelis representing Lithuania. We will talk. We must hear, see and deal with the problem together,” the Lithuanian president insists.
As the EU is dealing with the biggest refugee crisis in its history, Lithuania has agreed to take in 325 people from the Middle East and North Africa over the course two years. However, Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius has noted that the number is not set in stone, adding that Vilnius is part of the discussion on EU immigration policy. Nor has Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius ruled out the possibility that Lithuania might accept more refugees.
The UN estimates that over 300,000 migrants have reached Europe by sea this year alone.