Looking east, looking north

Iceland’s accession is strongly supported and the Croatian accession negotiations should be finished as soon as possible

Lithuan­ian offi­cials favour fur­ther EU enlarge­ment and are con­vinced that bilat­er­al dis­agree­ments should not influ­ence the acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions of the can­di­date coun­tries – for­mer Lithuan­ian For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Vygau­das Usackas expressed his sup­port for the Euro­pean Commission’s esti­ma­tion that Croa­t­ian acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions can be fin­ished in 2010.11For­eign Affairs Min­istry: The prepa­ra­tion for the forth­com­ing Euro­pean Coun­cil has been delib­er­at­ed in Brus­sels (Briuse­ly­je aptar­tas pasirengi­mas artė­janči­ai Euro­pos vadovų tary­bai), press release, 8 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.alfa.lt/straipsnis/10303389 (last access: 9 June 2010). Lithuan­ian For­eign Affairs Vice-Min­is­ter Asta Skaisgiryte Liauskiene recent­ly said that the Croa­t­ian acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions should be fin­ished as soon as pos­si­ble.22For­eign Affairs Min­istry: Lithua­nia sup­ports the Croa­t­ian aspi­ra­tion to fin­ish the acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions soon (Lietu­va remia Kroat­i­jos siekį baigti dery­bas dėl narys­tės ES artimi­au­siu metu), press release, 10 May 2010, avail­able at: http://www.alfa.lt/straipsnis/10358663/?Lietuva.remia.Kroatijos.sieki.baigti.derybas.del.narystes.ES.artimiausiu.metu=2010–05-19_15-10 (last access: 9 June 2010).

Ice­land was the first state to recog­nise Lithuania’s inde­pen­dence 20 years ago. Today Lithua­nia favours the inte­gra­tion of this state into the EU and, as Lithuan­ian Pres­i­dent Dalia Gry­bauskaite said, “Lithua­nia strong­ly sup­ports the aspi­ra­tion of Ice­land to become an EU mem­ber state and is will­ing to pro­vide all the nec­es­sary sup­port for Iceland‘s acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions.”33Baltic News Ser­vice: Gry­bauskaite: Lithua­nia strong­ly sup­ports the Iceland’s aspi­ra­tion to become an EU Mem­ber State (Gry­bauskaite: Lietu­va tvir­tai remia Islandi­jos siek­ius tap­ti ES nare), 16 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.alfa.lt/straipsnis/10321304/?Grybauskaite..Lietuva.tvirtai.remia.Islandijos.siekius.tapti.ES.nare=2010–03-16_16-16 (last access: 9 June 2010).

Regard­ing oth­er coun­tries, Lithuan­ian For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Vygau­das Usackas expressed Lithuan­ian sup­port for the Euro­pean Commission’s pro­pos­al to start acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions with Mace­do­nia. He expressed his hope that the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion will pos­i­tive­ly eval­u­ate the appli­ca­tions for EU mem­ber­ship by Alba­nia and Mon­tene­gro. He hoped that in 2011, when Lithua­nia will hold the Pres­i­den­cy for the Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­ri­ty and Co-oper­a­tion in Europe (OSCE), and lat­er in 2013, when Lithua­nia will hold the coun­cil pres­i­den­cy, there would be a sig­nif­i­cant move towards the cre­ation of a free and unit­ed Europe.44For­eign Affairs Min­istry: V. Usackas: The progress in the West­ern Balka­ns is evi­dent, but to achieve the goal there is a need to con­cen­trate the efforts (V. Ušackas: Vakarų Balka­n­u­ose pažan­ga aki­vaiz­di, tači­au dėl tik­slo dar reikia susitelk­ti), press release, 8 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.urm.gov.lt/index.php?-154276899 (last access: 9 June 2010).

Con­cern­ing Turkey, Lithuan­ian For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Audro­nius Azubalis urged Turkey to con­tin­ue imple­ment­ing EU reforms and to seek progress in the acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions. He reit­er­at­ed that Lithua­nia is ready to help Turkey on its way into the EU.55For­eign Affairs Min­istry: Lithua­nia sup­ports the Turk­ish reforms imple­ment­ed on its way to the EU (Lietu­va remia Turk­i­jos kely­je į ES vyk­do­mas refor­mas), press release, 24 Feb­ru­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://elta.lt/zinute_pr.php?inf_id=1160140 (last access: 9 June 2010).

Active participation in the Eastern Partnership – a Lithuanian foreign policy priority

While the Union for Mediter­ranean is a low salience issue in Lithua­nia, the East­ern Part­ner­ship attracts a lot of atten­tion and is one of the most impor­tant cur­rent EU ini­tia­tives to Lithua­nia, because, as a for­mer Sovi­et Repub­lic, Lithua­nia can share its expe­ri­ence on how to devel­op rela­tions with the EU’s east­ern neigh­bours. Both for­mer and cur­rent Lithuan­ian For­eign Affairs Min­is­ters claim that, since its mem­ber­ship in the EU, Lithua­nia has con­se­quent­ly sup­port­ed and ini­ti­at­ed such part­ner­ships between the EU and its east­ern neigh­bours.66For­eign Affairs Min­istry: East­ern Part­ner­ship ini­tia­tive stim­u­lates the rap­proche­ment of EU and its East­ern Part­ners, says For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter (Rytų part­nerys­tės ini­ci­aty­va skati­na ES ir Rytų kaimynių suar­tėjimą, teigia užsienio reikalų min­is­tras), press release, 9 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.urm.lt/index.php?237482786 (last access: 9 June 2010); for­mer Lithuan­ian For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Vygau­das Usackas: Lithuan­ian for­eign pol­i­cy: con­ti­nu­ity and change, rhetoric and prac­tice, speech at Insti­tute of Inter­na­tion­al Rela­tions and Polit­i­cal Sci­ence of Vil­nius Uni­ver­si­ty, 9 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.urm.lt/index.php?-1877806041 (last access: 9 June 2010).

Lithuan­ian offi­cials recog­nise the high impor­tance of the new EU ini­tia­tive. Accord­ing to the For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Audro­nius Azubalis, “[the] East­ern Part­ner­ship embod­ies a new era of the rela­tion­ship with east­ern neigh­bours and it is an impor­tant mea­sure fos­ter­ing the reforms and eco­nom­ic inte­gra­tion in these states and help­ing to facil­i­tate the move­ment of peo­ple.”77For­eign Affairs Min­istry: East­ern Part­ner­ship ini­tia­tive stim­u­lates the rap­proche­ment of EU and its East­ern Part­ners, says For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter (Rytų part­nerys­tės ini­ci­aty­va skati­na ES ir Rytų kaimynių suar­tėjimą, teigia užsienio reikalų min­is­tras), press release, 9 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.urm.lt/index.php?237482786 (last access: 9 June 2010). For­mer Lithuan­ian For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Vygau­das Usackas expressed his belief that the “inde­pen­dence, secu­ri­ty and sta­bil­i­ty of Belarus, Ukraine, Geor­gia and oth­er states par­tic­i­pat­ing in the East­ern Part­ner­ship is not only a premise for the secu­ri­ty and sta­bil­i­ty of the three Baltic states, but also a premise for the sta­bil­i­ty and secu­ri­ty of the whole Europe.”88Press release of the For­eign Affairs Min­istry: Lithuan­ian, Belaru­sian and Ukrain­ian tri­lat­er­al projects of the EU East­ern part­ner­ship have been pre­sent­ed in Brus­sels (Briuse­ly­je pris­tatyti Lietu­vos, Bal­tarusi­jos ir Ukrain­os trišali­ai pro­jek­tai ES Rytų kaimynys­tei), 8 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.esnaujienos.lt/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1665:briuselyje-pristatyti-lietuvos-baltarusijos-ir-ukrainos-trialiai-projektai-es-ryt-partnerystei-&catid=86:lietuvos-atstovavimas-es-institucijose&Itemid=95 (last access: 9 June 2010). Audro­nius Azubalis says that the active par­tic­i­pa­tion of Lithua­nia in the East­ern Part­ner­ship pro­gramme has become one of the top pri­or­i­ty fields of Lithuan­ian For­eign pol­i­cy.99For­eign Affairs Min­istry: East­ern Part­ner­ship ini­tia­tive stim­u­lates the rap­proche­ment of EU and its East­ern Part­ners, says For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter (Rytų part­nerys­tės ini­ci­aty­va skati­na ES ir Rytų kaimynių suar­tėjimą, teigia užsienio reikalų min­is­tras), press release, 9 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.urm.lt/index.php?237482786 (last access: 9 June 2010).

All necessary material support must be provided

Lithuan­ian Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs Audro­nius Azubalis empha­sised that it is impor­tant to start imple­ment­ing spe­cif­ic projects with the East­ern Part­ner­ship coun­tries as soon as pos­si­ble.1010For­eign Affairs Min­istry: The Ukrain­ian elec­tion results, EU actions in Afghanistan and the forth­com­ing Euro­pean Coun­cil have been dis­cussed in Brus­sels (Briuse­ly­je aptar­ti rinkimų Ukrain­o­je rezul­tatai, ES veik­slai Afgan­istane ir būsi­mo­ji Euro­pos vadovų tary­ba), press release, 22 Feb­ru­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://www.ue2013.lt/index.php?647304910 (last access: 9 June 2010). He urged EU mem­ber states to pro­vide a per­spec­tive of visa free regimes for Geor­gia, Moldo­va and Ukraine. He also empha­sised that it is impor­tant to pro­vide the nec­es­sary finan­cial resources for the imple­men­ta­tion of East­ern Part­ner­ship projects.1111For­eign Affairs Min­istry: EU mem­bers and East­ern neigh­bours have to use all the East­ern Part­ner­ship mea­sures and instru­ments, claims the For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter (ES šalys ir Rytų kaimynės turi išnau­doti visas Rytų pat­nerys­tės priemones ir instru­men­tus, teigia užsienio reikalų min­is­tras), press release, 2 March 2010, avail­able at: www.urm.lt (last access: 9 June 2010). The For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter also urged east­ern EU neigh­bours par­tic­i­pat­ing in this ini­tia­tive to ful­ly use all the East­ern Part­ner­ship instru­ments and mea­sures – asso­ci­a­tion agree­ments, free trade agree­ments and visa facil­i­ta­tion agree­ments – and to coop­er­ate more inten­sive­ly in the field of energy.

Visas for Belarusian citizens should be cheaper

The For­mer Lithuan­ian For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Vygau­das Usackas said he was espe­cial­ly wor­ried about the devel­op­ment of the EU’s and Lithuania’s rela­tions with Belarus. Accord­ing to the for­mer Min­is­ter, Lithua­nia would like to see an inde­pen­dent and sta­ble Belarus mov­ing towards the estab­lish­ment of an open demo­c­ra­t­ic soci­ety and func­tion­ing mar­ket econ­o­my. He urged the stop­ping of dis­crim­i­na­to­ry pol­i­cy towards the cit­i­zens of Belarus, who have to pay twice as much for a visa to enter the EU com­pared with cit­i­zens of oth­er East­ern Part­ner­ship states.1212Press release of the For­eign Affairs Min­istry: Lithuan­ian, Belaru­sian and Ukrain­ian tri­lat­er­al projects of the EU East­ern Part­ner­ship have been pre­sent­ed in Brus­sels (Briuse­ly­je pris­tatyti Lietu­vos, Bal­tarusi­jos ir Ukrain­os trišali­ai pro­jek­tai ES Rytų kaimynys­tei), 8 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.esnaujienos.lt/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1665:briuselyje-pristatyti-lietuvos-baltarusijos-ir-ukrainos-trialiai-projektai-es-ryt-partnerystei-&catid=86:lietuvos-atstovavimas-es-institucijose&Itemid=95 (last access: 9 June 2010).

Lithuania actively provided proposals for the development of the Eastern Partnership

Lithua­nia finds the East­ern Part­ner­ship an impor­tant field of action where it can pro­vide dif­fer­ent uni­lat­er­al and mul­ti­lat­er­al pro­pos­als for the devel­op­ment of this ini­tia­tive. At the end of 2009, Lithua­nia, togeth­er with Ukraine and Belarus, pre­pared a wide list of pos­si­ble com­mon projects and con­tin­ues to pro­vide con­crete sug­ges­tions to the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion for the sup­port of the east­ern neigh­bours, imple­ments com­mon projects with these states and shares its EU inte­gra­tion expe­ri­ence with them.1313For­eign Affairs Min­istry: East­ern Part­ner­ship ini­tia­tive stim­u­lates the rap­proche­ment of EU and its East­ern Part­ners, says For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter (Rytų part­nerys­tės ini­ci­aty­va skati­na ES ir Rytų kaimynių suar­tėjimą, teigia užsienio reikalų min­is­tras), press release, 9 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.urm.lt/index.php?237482786 (last access: 9 June 2010). The com­mit­tee on for­eign affairs of Lithuan­ian par­lia­ment also pro­pos­es to devel­op the par­lia­men­tary dimen­sion of the East­ern Part­ner­ship.1414For­eign Affairs Min­istry: Lithuan­ian, Belaru­sian and Ukrain­ian tri­lat­er­al projects of the EU East­ern part­ner­ship have been pre­sent­ed in Brus­sels (Briuse­ly­je pris­tatyti Lietu­vos, Bal­tarusi­jos ir Ukrain­os trišali­ai pro­jek­tai ES Rytų kaimynys­tei), press release, 8 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.esnaujienos.lt/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1665:briuselyje-pristatyti-lietuvos-baltarusijos-ir-ukrainos-trialiai-projektai-es-ryt-partnerystei-&catid=86:lietuvos-atstovavimas-es-institucijose&Itemid=95 (last access: 9 June 2010).

    Footnotes

  • 1For­eign Affairs Min­istry: The prepa­ra­tion for the forth­com­ing Euro­pean Coun­cil has been delib­er­at­ed in Brus­sels (Briuse­ly­je aptar­tas pasirengi­mas artė­janči­ai Euro­pos vadovų tary­bai), press release, 8 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.alfa.lt/straipsnis/10303389 (last access: 9 June 2010).
  • 2For­eign Affairs Min­istry: Lithua­nia sup­ports the Croa­t­ian aspi­ra­tion to fin­ish the acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions soon (Lietu­va remia Kroat­i­jos siekį baigti dery­bas dėl narys­tės ES artimi­au­siu metu), press release, 10 May 2010, avail­able at: http://www.alfa.lt/straipsnis/10358663/?Lietuva.remia.Kroatijos.sieki.baigti.derybas.del.narystes.ES.artimiausiu.metu=2010–05-19_15-10 (last access: 9 June 2010).
  • 3Baltic News Ser­vice: Gry­bauskaite: Lithua­nia strong­ly sup­ports the Iceland’s aspi­ra­tion to become an EU Mem­ber State (Gry­bauskaite: Lietu­va tvir­tai remia Islandi­jos siek­ius tap­ti ES nare), 16 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.alfa.lt/straipsnis/10321304/?Grybauskaite..Lietuva.tvirtai.remia.Islandijos.siekius.tapti.ES.nare=2010–03-16_16-16 (last access: 9 June 2010).
  • 4For­eign Affairs Min­istry: V. Usackas: The progress in the West­ern Balka­ns is evi­dent, but to achieve the goal there is a need to con­cen­trate the efforts (V. Ušackas: Vakarų Balka­n­u­ose pažan­ga aki­vaiz­di, tači­au dėl tik­slo dar reikia susitelk­ti), press release, 8 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.urm.gov.lt/index.php?-154276899 (last access: 9 June 2010).
  • 5For­eign Affairs Min­istry: Lithua­nia sup­ports the Turk­ish reforms imple­ment­ed on its way to the EU (Lietu­va remia Turk­i­jos kely­je į ES vyk­do­mas refor­mas), press release, 24 Feb­ru­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://elta.lt/zinute_pr.php?inf_id=1160140 (last access: 9 June 2010).
  • 6For­eign Affairs Min­istry: East­ern Part­ner­ship ini­tia­tive stim­u­lates the rap­proche­ment of EU and its East­ern Part­ners, says For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter (Rytų part­nerys­tės ini­ci­aty­va skati­na ES ir Rytų kaimynių suar­tėjimą, teigia užsienio reikalų min­is­tras), press release, 9 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.urm.lt/index.php?237482786 (last access: 9 June 2010); for­mer Lithuan­ian For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Vygau­das Usackas: Lithuan­ian for­eign pol­i­cy: con­ti­nu­ity and change, rhetoric and prac­tice, speech at Insti­tute of Inter­na­tion­al Rela­tions and Polit­i­cal Sci­ence of Vil­nius Uni­ver­si­ty, 9 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.urm.lt/index.php?-1877806041 (last access: 9 June 2010).
  • 7For­eign Affairs Min­istry: East­ern Part­ner­ship ini­tia­tive stim­u­lates the rap­proche­ment of EU and its East­ern Part­ners, says For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter (Rytų part­nerys­tės ini­ci­aty­va skati­na ES ir Rytų kaimynių suar­tėjimą, teigia užsienio reikalų min­is­tras), press release, 9 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.urm.lt/index.php?237482786 (last access: 9 June 2010).
  • 8Press release of the For­eign Affairs Min­istry: Lithuan­ian, Belaru­sian and Ukrain­ian tri­lat­er­al projects of the EU East­ern part­ner­ship have been pre­sent­ed in Brus­sels (Briuse­ly­je pris­tatyti Lietu­vos, Bal­tarusi­jos ir Ukrain­os trišali­ai pro­jek­tai ES Rytų kaimynys­tei), 8 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.esnaujienos.lt/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1665:briuselyje-pristatyti-lietuvos-baltarusijos-ir-ukrainos-trialiai-projektai-es-ryt-partnerystei-&catid=86:lietuvos-atstovavimas-es-institucijose&Itemid=95 (last access: 9 June 2010).
  • 9For­eign Affairs Min­istry: East­ern Part­ner­ship ini­tia­tive stim­u­lates the rap­proche­ment of EU and its East­ern Part­ners, says For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter (Rytų part­nerys­tės ini­ci­aty­va skati­na ES ir Rytų kaimynių suar­tėjimą, teigia užsienio reikalų min­is­tras), press release, 9 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.urm.lt/index.php?237482786 (last access: 9 June 2010).
  • 10For­eign Affairs Min­istry: The Ukrain­ian elec­tion results, EU actions in Afghanistan and the forth­com­ing Euro­pean Coun­cil have been dis­cussed in Brus­sels (Briuse­ly­je aptar­ti rinkimų Ukrain­o­je rezul­tatai, ES veik­slai Afgan­istane ir būsi­mo­ji Euro­pos vadovų tary­ba), press release, 22 Feb­ru­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://www.ue2013.lt/index.php?647304910 (last access: 9 June 2010).
  • 11For­eign Affairs Min­istry: EU mem­bers and East­ern neigh­bours have to use all the East­ern Part­ner­ship mea­sures and instru­ments, claims the For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter (ES šalys ir Rytų kaimynės turi išnau­doti visas Rytų pat­nerys­tės priemones ir instru­men­tus, teigia užsienio reikalų min­is­tras), press release, 2 March 2010, avail­able at: www.urm.lt (last access: 9 June 2010).
  • 12Press release of the For­eign Affairs Min­istry: Lithuan­ian, Belaru­sian and Ukrain­ian tri­lat­er­al projects of the EU East­ern Part­ner­ship have been pre­sent­ed in Brus­sels (Briuse­ly­je pris­tatyti Lietu­vos, Bal­tarusi­jos ir Ukrain­os trišali­ai pro­jek­tai ES Rytų kaimynys­tei), 8 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.esnaujienos.lt/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1665:briuselyje-pristatyti-lietuvos-baltarusijos-ir-ukrainos-trialiai-projektai-es-ryt-partnerystei-&catid=86:lietuvos-atstovavimas-es-institucijose&Itemid=95 (last access: 9 June 2010).
  • 13For­eign Affairs Min­istry: East­ern Part­ner­ship ini­tia­tive stim­u­lates the rap­proche­ment of EU and its East­ern Part­ners, says For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter (Rytų part­nerys­tės ini­ci­aty­va skati­na ES ir Rytų kaimynių suar­tėjimą, teigia užsienio reikalų min­is­tras), press release, 9 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.urm.lt/index.php?237482786 (last access: 9 June 2010).
  • 14For­eign Affairs Min­istry: Lithuan­ian, Belaru­sian and Ukrain­ian tri­lat­er­al projects of the EU East­ern part­ner­ship have been pre­sent­ed in Brus­sels (Briuse­ly­je pris­tatyti Lietu­vos, Bal­tarusi­jos ir Ukrain­os trišali­ai pro­jek­tai ES Rytų kaimynys­tei), press release, 8 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.esnaujienos.lt/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1665:briuselyje-pristatyti-lietuvos-baltarusijos-ir-ukrainos-trialiai-projektai-es-ryt-partnerystei-&catid=86:lietuvos-atstovavimas-es-institucijose&Itemid=95 (last access: 9 June 2010).

The reports focus on a report­ing peri­od from Decem­ber 2009 until May 2010. This sur­vey was con­duct­ed on the basis of a ques­tion­naire that has been elab­o­rat­ed in March and April 2010. Most of the 31 reports were deliv­ered in May 2010.

The EU-27 Watch No. 9 receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Otto Wolff-Foun­da­tion, Cologne, in the frame­work of the ‘Dia­log Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and finan­cial sup­port from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is not respon­si­ble for any use that may be made of the infor­ma­tion con­tained therein.