VILNIUS – Lithuania's Ministry of National Defense has been urged to agree with Germany on the dates of deployment of its troops in Lithuania by taking the plans on the construction of military infrastructure in Lithuania into account.
Such a decision was on Wednesday made by the Lithuanian parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense.
"The CNSD unanimously agreed to urge the Ministry of National Defense to link that infrastructure implementation plan to the German brigade's deployment plan. Our steps in preparing the necessary infrastructure should be in line with the infrastructure decisions on the gradual deployment of the brigade or parts of it in Lithuania, so that our strategic goal of having the brigade here is achieved," Laurynas Kasciunas told reporters after the meeting.
CNSD members agreed that the ministry should agree with German representatives on a timetable that would make it clear when and how many German troops would arrive on a permanent rotational basis, when a new training area would be set up in Lithuania, when a new military base would be built, etc.
"We need a very clear link and a very clear end goal. Not just to have a brigade for Lithuania, but to have a brigade in Lithuania. This is the goal that requires our all diplomatic effort," Kasciunas said.
The CNSD chairman described his conversation with National Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas at the committee meeting as businesslike.
"We are leaving with a message, a common and united message, that having the brigade here in Lithuania is the primary interest for all branches of government, for all political forces," Kasciunas said. "We will be able to achieve all of this and we will achieve it by doing our homework. We have to implement infrastructure projects to welcome the Germans on good terms, and we plan to complete that by July, 2025."
According to Kasciunas, all participants agreed that the German brigade's permanent rotational presence in Lithuania is a strategic goal. "We all heard clearly today, and from the minister, that the Defense Ministry's goal is to have the brigade here," he said.
Meanwhile, opposition representatives on the committee were not so sure the approach was so common.
"It's hard to say whether we'll have a united tone because we spent almost an hour talking about how everyone understood the signed agreement. So, if we have such discussions here, we will have huge problems once we need to implement the agreement urgently(...),"ex-Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, a representative of the Democrats "For Lithuania", said after the committee meeting.
Meanwhile, Dainius Gaizauskas of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union said his disappointment with the defense minister grew even further after the meeting.
"We spent half of the meeting talking about the grammar of the German language. If a person bases his explanations on grammar and thinks he will explain himself in this way, it's pathetic," the MP said, saying that the minister "dodged answers like a slippery eel".
For his part, the defense minister reiterated that Germany and Lithuania were meeting their commitments on the brigade.
"Germany appreciates our effort and consistent work and has said so publicly in Brussels. The most important thing is consistent work from both sides. They maintain that they are implementing the results of the Madrid Summit one by one and even going further. I think this is also an important message as they are not backing down from any of their commitments," Anusauskas said, asked about the brigade's permanent presence in Lithuania.
He said he would put amendments before the Seimas under a fast-track procedure next week to ensure faster construction of military infrastructure in Lithuania.
Anusauskas was invited to the CNSD on Wednesday following his statement that it was sufficient to put the German brigade assigned to Lithuania on standby for it to arrive in Lithuania within ten days, if needed.
This position was later criticized by President Gitanas Nauseda, CNSD members and Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis who stressed that Lithuania's ambition to have German troops permanently stationed in Lithuania has not changed.
Lithuania is now building three new military bases to host more allied troops.
A German-led NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group and the assigned German brigade's forward command element are currently deployed in Lithuania.