“If previously it was more like a theory, strategy, and so forth, now it is vital to prepare and to strengthen defence of our region and show that entire NATO is focused on security in our region as well as on Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova,” says Grybauskaitė.
Madam President, you are going to participate in the informal European Council meeting. It has been announced that it will address not only changes and candidacies of the leaders of the European Union, but also a good few international questions. Could you comment on it?
Yes, it is true that I am leaving on Saturday. At first, there were plans to talk only about the allocation of the remaining European leadership positions, but of course, the geopolitical situation dictates its own tasks and challenges. These challenges are related to economic situation in Europe, as well with the situation in Ukraine and with trade sanctions which Russia used against Europe. Thus, all these questions are going to be discussed in Brussels.
These questions naturally lead to other issues, like the security of Europe and the security of our region. And all these issues are directly connected with next week’s meeting with President Barack Obama and participation in the NATO summit.
On Wednesday, you are going to Tallinn where, together with other leaders of the Baltic Countries, you will meetUS President Barack Obama. Are you going to raise the issue of the NATO antiballistic defence shieldthat the Baltic States and Poland are so interested in and that has been widely discussed in the media lately?
First of all, without a doubt, we are going to talk about the particularities of security in the Baltic States and the entire region and what our goals are at the NATO summit. Thus, the meeting with President Obama is like preparation before the main meeting in Wales. But the most important thing is that we get special attention from a major NATO country. We see this attention even in bilateral relations, not just within the NATO framework. We have enhanced infantry training. Recently, we have received reinforcement and training for our forces on land, air and sear. So we are going to talk specifically about what we need to do in order to reinforce security and what additional preventative measures are needed in our region. That is all.
We cannot discuss the details publicly. Everything that is being discussed in public is invention of the public. I can neither comment nor reveal the details.
The meeting in Tallinn takes place just before the NATO summit in Cardiff, Wales, on 4-5th September. What is the importance of this event? Can we expect pivotal decisions regarding the safety of the Baltic countries?
Yes, in my opinion, this event is symbolic in both political and practical sense. The meeting of the presidents of the three Baltic States and Obama means that our problems are taken seriously and we have real support. I hope that we will see tangible results in the NATO summit in Cardiff. From Tallinn we are going straight to Cardiff.
What we seek together, the Baltic States and Poland, is to have our defence plans upgraded, something that only was done in 2012 after the NATO summit in Chicago. Moreover, we will ask to strengthen commitments to the security of Alliance members, to maintain NATO presence on land, air and sea in the Baltics and in the region, to ensure prompt and effective response to threats and extra security measures. We will discuss what means are available and how we can make use of it. We will try to ensure that all these decisions are made during the NATO summit. These questions are very important for us and our region. But in Cardiff, we will seek to ensure support for Ukraine as well. Moreover, we will focus on the safety of Georgia. What is more, we will discuss collaboration between NATO and Moldova. A lot of issues, and all of them are very important.
The NATO summit takes place every other year. Thus, it becomes vital in the context of the current geopolitical situation. If previously it was more like a theory, strategy, and so forth, now it is vital to prepare and to strengthen defence of our region and show that entire NATO is focused on security in our region as well as on Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.