VILNIUS - Speaker of the Lithuanian Seimas Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen on Tuesday met with European Parliament Roberta Metsola in Ljubljana to discuss Ukraine's EU membership prospects.
"I am convinced the least we can offer Ukraine, which is fighting for the future of Europe, is EU candidate status. The European Parliament has a major leadership role to play here. Lithuania supports and will support the actions of the EP to encourage all EU institutions to grant Ukraine EU candidate status," the Seimas speaker said.
Cmilyte-Nielsen and Metsola discussed the role the European Parliament and national parliaments could play in this process, in particular, in building a broad coalition of MEPs to achieve this goal, the Lithuanian parliament's press service said in a statement.
"Ukraine must become an integral part of the EU. It deserves it. I recently visited Kyiv and saw how Ukrainians are fighting for European values with incredible determination. I very much encourage lawmakers in other countries to do the same and see for themselves," she said.
Later, speaking at the Conference of Speakers of the EU Parliaments, the speaker of the Seimas said that today's topic of the EU as a guarantor of stability, security and prosperity, is particularly close to her heart, as it is EU membership, together with NATO membership, that has ensured the stability and security of Lithuania and the other Baltic states.
"Just try to imagine what that part of Europe would have looked like now, had it not for EU enlargement. Instead of successful democracies, growing modern economies and strong civil societies, today we would have probably had another grey area in Europe. That is why we need to recognize the EU's success, celebrate its achievements and be proud of the important geopolitical decisions it once made," Cmilyte-Nielsen said at the conference.
She said the EU's strategic Eastern Partnership policy had become even more important in the wake of Russia's war against Ukraine, and that it was therefore necessary not only to continue it, but also to give it a new impetus and clearer strategic objectives.
"Speaking in Slovenia, I stressed that Lithuania's focus on the Eastern Partnership countries does not mean that we do not understand the strategic importance of Western Balkans' integration into the EU. In fact, Lithuania has always consistently supported the European choice of Western Balkan countries. Being geopolitical and thinking geostrategically means that the European Union must see the big picture and not its individual parts. North, South, East and West of Europe must find a place in the EU's strategic compass," Cmilyte-Nielsen said.
From Slovenia, where she will attend the Conference of Speakers of EU Parliaments, the Seimas speaker will leave on Tuesday for Prague where she will attend events to mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Baltic states and the Czech Republic.