VILNIUS - Success of Lithuania’s foreign policy efforts to achieve the objectives set for the European Union depends on important factors of external and domestic policy - the preparation for the Presidency of the EU Council, developments in the international environment and the forthcoming elections to the Seimas (Parliament), said Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Azubalis at a discussion on Dec. 13.
The minister stressed that in the second half of 2013, Lithuania’s upcoming Presidency of the EU Council is a unique opportunity to be more often heard and to see key priorities of Lithuania’s EU policy on the agenda of the European Union.
According to Azubalis, when observing international developments, there is a need to particularly closely keep track of developments in transatlantic relations, the EU’s Eastern neighborhood policy and the development of relations with Russia, because these can have a significant impact on the success of the European Union and Lithuania’s foreign policy.
In the minister’s opinion, domestically, it is most important to ensure the continuity of foreign policy after the regular elections to the Seimas (Parliament) that are due next year.
“Lithuania’s most important objective is the following: we have to become an integral, successful, politically and economically consolidated part of the Nordic-Baltic region, consisting of five Nordic and three Baltic States,” said Azubalis.
The discussion “The European Union Today and Tomorrow: Lithuania’s New Challenges” at the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was attended by political scientist Klaudijus Maniokas, economist Jonas Cicinskas, philosopher Gintautas Mazeikis, presidential advisers, representatives of the prime minister’s office and ministry representatives, journalists and diplomats.
The discussion focused on possible EU development alternatives.
“We are always grasping the pulse of international developments and adjust our actions and the EU strategy accordingly,” stressed Azubalis.
During the discussion, Cicinskas emphasized the impact of the eurozone crisis and reforms in the peripheries on the agenda of Lithuania’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2013. The minister also highlighted the importance of one of Lithuania’s priorities for the EU – the shaping of a common energy policy.
In his turn, Mazeikis stressed the need to talk about possible alternative scenarios for the future of the EU and emphasized the importance of a change of old thinking for the vitality of institutions.