Lithuanian president attends EU summit on Europe's future after Brexit

  • 2016-09-16
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite said following her arrival at the informal European Union summit in Bratislava on Friday that a joint European army was inconceivable.

Grybauskaite said that EU member countries need to increase their defense co-operation, particularly by conducting missions in third countries, however, the founding of new joint military structures was not a topic of discussion.

"European armed forces are out of the question; we cannot afford to overlap NATO," Grybauskaite told the Bratislava media on Friday.

Leaders of 27 nations have convened in the Slovak capital to assess the EU’s condition following the Brexit vote and develop a vision of its future: what kind of Europe do its citizens want, how to react more efficiently to their expectations, and how to defeat the problems faced by the continent. As UK voters chose to leave the EU, Great Britain is absent from the meeting for the first time in its 43 years of EU membership.

The British referendum sparked EU debates on development versus reduction of centralised administration, while the migration crisis and domestic security in the wake of the wave of violence of Islamic extremists are also key issues at the meeting.

Asked whether she would back the belief that Brexit has caused a European existential crisis, Grybauskaite remarked that the British decision was one of the many issues of Europe's fragmentation.

"We have no other choice but to search for solutions," the Lithuanian president stressed.

Grybauskaite said that she missed UK leaders at the summit, noting her plans to meet with Great Britain's new Prime Minister Theresa May during the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week.