Baltic, French leaders discuss NATO's Vilnius summit

  • 2023-02-17
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The Baltic leaders met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Munich on Friday to discuss the key topics of NATO's July summit in Vilnius, the Lithuanian president's office said. 

Gitanas Nauseda, Egils Levits, Kaja Kallas and Macron also discussed assistance to Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression, it said in a press release. 

"We hope that the Vilnius Summit will endorse new defense plans for the region, as well as reinforced air defense for the Alliance's eastern flank and for the Baltic region," said Nauseda. 

The president also underlined the need for NATO member states "to renew the agreement on defense spending".

"I believe that the 2 percent of GDP allocated to defense today should be the floor from which we would invest more in the collective security of all of us, in particular by generating defense capabilities," he said. 

In Nauseda's opinion, France, a nuclear country, "has a major role to play in deterrence and security in Europe".

The Lithuanian president also noted that France was one of the first countries to decide to send tanks to Ukraine

"This is a very important support for Ukraine, but today we need to talk about other weapons as well, in particular long-range missiles and air defense," he said in the press release.

At the Vilnius summit scheduled for July 11-12, Lithuania expects the Allies to step up their defense funding commitments, agree on updated defense plans for the Baltic states and make a clear commitment on Ukraine's membership prospects.