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Baltics oppose Italian for EU foreign policy job

  • 2014-07-15
  • From wire reports, VILNIUS

Lithuania said Tuesday it would oppose Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini's bid to become European Union foreign policy chief, reflecting concerns in eastern Europe over the bloc's policy on Russia, the AFP news agency reports.

"The Italian foreign minister's candidacy will not be supported," Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius told public broadcaster LRT.

He said his view was shared by the Baltic state's President Dalia Grybauskaite, who will represent Lithuania at the EU summit on Wednesday.

Poland and Lithuania's fellow Baltic states Latvia and Estonia are not keen on Mogherini, claiming she lacks experience and has a soft stance on Russia, according to media reports.

"There is a concern here because Italy is seen as a Russian supporter and socialists in Italy even more so," Vilnius University analyst Tomas Janeliunas told AFP.

"Russian issues will top the EU agenda in the near future, and this position needs a strong person who knows Russia well."

Poland and the Baltic states are concerned about the impact of Russia's actions in Ukraine on their security, and have repeatedly urged a tougher EU stance on Moscow.

Bulgarian Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva is also seen among the favorites to take over from current EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton of Britain.

Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini