VILNIUS – The Baltic states cannot imagine their security without the United States' involvement, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda says.
"All Baltic states are very clear that the United States' involvement in our collective defense system is a critical factor and we can hardly imagine our 100 percent security without the United States' involvement," the president told journalists in Rukla on Tuesday.
In his words, Lithuania does not see the aspiration for Europe's strategic autonomy as "some sort of competition with the US's involvement in NATO activity".
"Lithuania sees it as NATO capability's complementary factor, and in no way there can be any opposition or competition between these two things as, otherwise, NATO's ability to properly do its mission would be affected," he said.
The Lithuanian leader also said he told that to French President Emmanuel Macron visiting Lithuania.
Taking part in a discussion with students of Vilnius University earlier on Tuesday, Macron said Europe should be more sovereign and invest more into technology, defense to reduce its dependence on the United States and China.
"European defense is a phrase one could not utter five or ten years ago. We imagined that we can put our defense into the hands of NATO, but now we have already established a fund for the implementation of joint programs and we have structural cooperation on defense," Macron said.
"We cannot always rely on the power that is on the other side of the Atlantic, which is probably focusing more on China and cannot give us so much attention. Therefore, it's very important for us to be able to protect ourselves," the French leader said.
Professor Ramunas Vilpisauskas of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science at Vilnius University told BNS on Tuesday that Macron's idea of Europe's greater role in ensuring security is not based on France's own action.
"Those statement are not followed by in increase in defense spending," the political expert said.