Continuous support for the EU ‘open door’ policy

Lithuania
Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University
 
Lithuania has always sustained an ‘open door’ policy regarding EU enlargement. Speaking about the further enlargement, Lithuanian officials most often concentrate on the EU Eastern neighbours. As it is laid down in the programme of the new government, Lithuania will support the efforts of Ukraine, Moldova and the states of Southern Caucasus to integrate in to the EU.[1] Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister, Vygaudas Ušackas, emphasized that “it is necessary to keep the EU obligations for the countries, aspiring membership in the EU. At the same time it is essential to help the EU eastern neighbours to prepare for it properly”[2].
 
There should be no impediments for the further enlargement of the EU
 

Positive evaluation of the French Presidency

Lithuania
Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University
 
Lithuanian officials positively evaluate the French Presidency and praise the efficient steps taken forward during this half of the year. Lithuanian President, Valdas Adamkus, in his letter to the French ambassador to Lithuania, Francois Laumonier, emphasized that the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy and diplomats have taken efficient steps while solving problems caused by the global financial crisis, intermediating during the Georgian-Russian conflict. He also positively evaluated the French aspirations to strengthen the energy security of Europe, develop the EU internal energy interconnections, strengthen the relations with the EU Eastern and Southern neighbours, and the fight with the climate change and other global challenges.[1] He said that “while dealing with these challenges the EU demonstrated leadership and unity. That is why today the EU is stronger and better prepared to deal with the challenges of the 21. century”[2].
 

Attention is focused on the national level economic crisis

Lithuania
Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University
 
The issue of the financial crisis is widely discussed in Lithuania, both by the politicians and the public. Nevertheless, most of the discussions concentrate on the national level. The central issue in these discussions is the response of the new Lithuanian government to the crisis while the role of the EU in responding to the financial crisis is not widely deliberated.
 
There are only some remarks made publicly by the Lithuanian officials concerning the EU response to the financial crisis. In a press release published by the Lithuanian government, is it claimed that the Lithuanian government positively evaluates the European Council conclusion to form a group to coordinate the member states actions while dealing with the financial crisis.[1]
 
European actions are congratulated, but individual measures should also be applied
 
Lithuania supports the European Commission objective to foster the recovery of the European economy and at the same time holds a position that it is important to coordinate the actions taken to fight the financial crisis among the countries, but every state should take in to account its own situation before choosing concrete actions for fighting the financial crisis.[2]
 

Transatlantic relations should be strengthened

Lithuania
Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University

There is a general agreement in Lithuania that the transatlantic relations should be strengthened. During a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers, former Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister, Petras Vaitiekūnas, emphasized that “for the EU it is useful to strengthen the cooperation with the USA. It is especially important to develop a strategic dialog and practical cooperation in such fields as the common evaluation of the threats and crisis management”. According to the Minister, crisis in Georgia and dependency on the single supplier of the energy resources, increase the importance of the transatlantic dialogue.[1]
 
The new Lithuanian government formed after the autumn elections to the parliament, further sustains this position – in its programme the new government set a goal to seek for strengthening the relations between the EU and the USA. According to the government programme, direct participation of the USA in Western, Central, Eastern Europe, and the Baltic region, is an important factor for strengthening both Lithuanian and European security.[2] Speaking about the priorities of the Czech Presidency it is always emphasized, that the Czech goal to strengthen the transatlantic dialogue completely matches the interests of Lithuanian foreign policy.

Attention concentrated on energy and the European Economy Recovery Plan

Lithuania
Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University
 
The Lisbon Treaty is a very important treaty to Lithuania. As the former Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said – “by ratifying the Lisbon Treaty Lithuania has spoken for a strong, solid and united EU”.[1] Nevertheless, in Lithuania during the December European Council meeting, the attention has been concentrated on the European Council decisions concerning energy and the European Economy Recovery Plan. The Committee on European Affairs of the Lithuanian parliament called these two issues the most important to Lithuania.[2] Therefore the European Council decisions concerning the fate of the Lisbon Treaty did not attract much attention.
 
Little preparation for the European Parliament elections
 
Lithuanian parliament changed the order of the presidential elections, therefore the European Parliament elections in Lithuania will be held together with the second round of the presidential elections. According to the former chairman of the Lithuanian parliament, Česlovas Juršėnas, this measure has been taken in order to stimulate the participation of Lithuanians in the European Parliament elections and to save money.[3]