Lithuania's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis: United Europe is strong, so we must take into account issues of common interest to all EU countries, regardless of their geography
On 7 April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain Arancha González Laya, who is visiting Vilnius. The Foreign Ministers discussed bilateral relations, security situation in the region, and the most important items on the EU and international agendas.
“We have enjoyed excellent bilateral relations with Spain. Nonetheless, there is still a lot of untapped potential for cooperation in various fields, especially high-tech, green energy, and life sciences,” said Lithuania's Foreign Minister. Landsbergis also thanked Spain for its support in repatriating Lithuanian citizens from Venezuela.
The Foreign Ministers exchanged their views on the Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood priorities: “It is very important that the Eastern Partnership initiative remains on the top of the EU's agenda. The support and engagement of Europe’s southern states are of great importance for us. We also cannot ignore the problems that arise in the Southern Neighbourhood. We must stand in solidarity with the EU's southern states in managing migration. Lithuania believes that strengthening the EU's external borders is a very important measure taken to fight against illegal migration. United Europe is strong, so we must take into account issues of common interest to all EU countries, regardless of their geography," said Landsbergis.
The Foreign Ministers also discussed key security threats. “We are grateful for Spain's contribution to strengthening security in our region. The geopolitical situation remains difficult in the region. Therefore, we must consistently implement the decisions taken at previous NATO summits to enhance deterrence and defence on the Alliance's eastern flank,” said Landsbergis.
The Foreign Ministers also discussed issues related to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic and stressed the importance of the accelerated vaccination schedule for rapid protection against the coronavirus disease. "We need to set up a mechanism to temporarily increase the supply of COVID vaccines to allow the most affected EU countries to increase the pace of their rollout of vaccines without changing the pro rata principle. We must also avoid the accumulation of unused vaccines by sharing the surplus vaccine supply with those countries that have the necessary vaccination capacity. Lithuania supports the proposal for the European Digital Green Certificate and emphasises that it should only include vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency," said the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Lithuania's Foreign Minister proposed to strengthen cooperation with Spain in the field of vaccine production. “We have very strong companies operating in the fields of biotechnology and life sciences in Lithuania. Thus, growing ties with similar Spanish companies would be mutually beneficial,” said Landsbergis.
As regards the situation in Belarus, Landsbergis stressed the need to provide support for the opposition and civil society in Belarus.
When speaking about the alarming Russian military build-up on its borders with Ukraine and an increase in ceasefire violations by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, Lithuania's Foreign Minister noted that it was very important to collectively send a clear signal to Russia that its possible aggressive actions would have consequences.
As regards relations with China, Lithuania's Foreign Minister stressed that the EU member states' cooperation with this country in the 27+ 1 format would enable the EU countries to maintain a unified front. Landsbergis also expressed concerns regarding the deteriorating human rights situation in China.
This is the first Minister-level visit to Lithuania during the pandemic this year. Next year, Lithuania and Spain will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations.