Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite has departed for Brussels where she will attend a European Council meeting. The heads of state or government of EU member states will discuss the situation in Ukraine, financial support to this country, and will consider possible sanctions on Russia. In the context of recent developments in Ukraine, the leaders will also talk about measures to reduce the EU's energy dependency. The state of the European economy will be reviewed as well, the presidential press service informs.
According to the President, all EU member states share a common stand that Russian actions in Ukraine is a violation of international law and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The President underlined that the vote in Crimea on 16 March was unlawful and would never be recognized by the international community. European leaders will coordinate further steps to resolve the crisis in Ukraine as well as discuss ways to provide assistance to this country.
As Russia is apparently rejecting a peaceful dialogue, the heads of state and government will consider the imposition of specific political sanctions, including travel restrictions to the Schengen Area and account freezes in EU banks, on responsible officials.
During this summit, the political provisions of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement are planned to be signed. This step will reaffirm Ukraine's free and voluntary determination to seek political partnership and more vigorous economic cooperation with the European Union.
EU leaders will also exchange views on the current state of European economy. According to President Grybauskaite, although the EU's economy is recovering, with 1.5 percent growth forecasted this year, but the unemployment rate remains relatively high and competitiveness insufficient. It is therefore crucial to continue implementation of key economic reforms.
The Union's energy policy will be among other issues to be discussed at the meeting. Discussion will center on measures to be taken to boost energy independence of the member states, ensure greater security of energy supplies, promote Europe's industrial competitiveness, and reduce energy prices for consumers.