VILNIUS – Lithuania has consistently supported the Western Balkan countries' integration into the European Union, President Gitanas Nauseda said on Wednesday.
"It is very easy for Lithuania because we have been very consistent supporters of the EU enlargement," Nauseda said in a comment to the media in Slovenia. "We are treating this process not only because we are talking about the Western Balkan countries, which are, let's not be afraid of the word, at the center of Europe, but also from whatever point of view we look at it."
"Today, I will certainly speak in favor of a clear plan for the Western Balkan countries on how they will seek membership, because the motivation of these countries to carry out the necessary reforms and to follow this path consistently depends on this, too," he added.
The Western Balkan countries' stability "and, most importantly, their resistance to the influence of China, Russia and other countries" is a very important security factor for the EU, because a vacuum in the bloc's interests "will be filled by other countries, and we hardly want this", according to the president.
Nauseda underlined that this is also important in pursuing further strategic goals for the European integration of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
"But I will always stress another point: the integration aspirations of other Eastern Partnership countries, which are no less important to us, will also depend on how successful they (the Western Balkans) are in implementing their EU integration policy," the president said.
"Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine are also making great efforts to become members of the European Union one day or to get very close to the EU in every sense," he added.