European Council chief Charles Michel, 4 EU countries' leaders to visit Vilnius

  • 2024-04-02
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – European Council President Charles Michel and leaders from four EU member states, including Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, are coming to Vilnius on Tuesday. 

Gitanas Nauseda's office has said that the Lithuanian president and Rutte will meet to discuss "defense and security, the strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank, support for Ukraine, and current EU issues".

The outgoing Dutch prime minister is currently seen as the front-runner in the race to succeed Jens Stoltenberg as NATO's secretary general, with backing from the United Kingdom, Germany and other countries. Experts believe that his visit to Lithuania is partly aimed at securing support from Vilnius.

Budapest says, however, that it will not support Rutte because of his past criticism of the Hungarian government.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has also said that he will run for NATO's leadership. 

In Vilnius, Rutte will also take part in a discussion on the priorities of the EU's new political cycle, which will start after the European Parliament elections in June.

Michel and the leaders of Sweden, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria are also expected to participate in the discussion. 

Discussions on the EU's strategic agenda will also take place in Warsaw, Rome and Bucharest in April.