Lithuania sees close cooperation with the United Kingdom in the area of security and defence in the future
On 4 July, Minister Linas Linkevičius met with the European Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom Exiting the European Union, Michel Barnier, in Vilnius to discuss the main Lithuanian interests in Brexit negotiations – Lithuanian citizens residing, working and studying in the United Kingdom should retain their rights and social guarantees, and the principles unifying the EU should stay in place. Lithuanian priorities in future EU-UK relations were discussed too.
“Out citizens’ rights must be protected; this has already been agreed upon in the Draft Agreement on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. We hope the implementation of the Agreement will be smooth. The same rules for all EU citizens must apply in the future. Lithuania will focus on the principles of reciprocity and non-discrimination in the negotiations on future relations,” Minister Linkevičius said.
Lithuania believes it is very important to maintain the established economic relations with the United Kingdom, the UK’s further engagement in ensuring security in the region, and particularly close cooperation in the EU external policy.
“The United Kingdom’s exit should not shake the foundations of the EU, and the key rules and principles shouldn’t change. We must be loyal to our values, remain unified and address the challenges the EU faces today together. However, we are keen on seeing relations between the EU and the UK as close as possible after it leaves the Union and on making the best use of cooperation in economy and trade, as well as in foreign, security and defence policies, in social and other areas,” the Foreign Minister noted.
According to Mr Minister, bearing in mind the challenges that our region faces, Lithuania should continue to underscore close partnership between the EU and the United Kingdom in the area of security and defence, which should go beyond the boundaries of the EU external relation regime with third countries.
“Lithuania finds it particularly relevant to cooperate with the United Kingdom in matters referring to Russia and its sanctions. We must be open in looking for innovative solutions for cooperation with the United Kingdom, our strategic partner,” Linas Linkevičius said.
At the annual convention of Lithuanian ambassadors, Mr Barnier told about the progress of the negotiations on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal, major challenges in dealing with open questions concerning the Withdrawal Agreement, and how important it was to prepare for legal consequences of Brexit.
While in Vilnius, Michel Barnier has meetings with Speaker Viktoras Pranckietis, President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis, members of the Seimas, business representatives, experts, opinion shapers, and representatives of an academic community.
On 28 September, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Albinas Zananavičius, paid a visit to Warsaw where he discussed on-going negotiations on the EU Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027), withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, energy projects in the Baltic region, and other key matters on the EU agenda with Konrad Szymański, Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland.
On 7 June, Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius welcomed the participants of the informal meeting of the Club of Venice uniting top-level public relations officials and communications experts of the European Union Member States and institutions, which started in Vilnius.
On 28 May, Linas Linkevičius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, took part in a meeting of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) in Brussels. The foreign ministers of the EU Member States discussed Iran, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela related matters, the situation in Gaza and a document to be designed as a substitute for the Cotonou Agreement.