President of the Republic of Lithuania President of the Republic of Lithuania

At the preparatory meeting of the European Council, the President urged EU leaders to take a strong stance towards Russia

2021-03-23

President Gitanas Nausėda attended a remote preparatory session of the European Council. The President, together with the leaders of Belgium, Hungary, Poland and Romania, discussed vaccine supplies, the introduction of a green certificate, and the functioning of the EU internal market. Special focus was placed on the EU’s relations with Russia and Turkey.  

The President noted that it was necessary to ensure timely supply of vaccines in order to fulfil the EU-wide objective of inoculating 70 percent of adult citizens by late summer. Gitanas Nausėda stressed that the green certificate should include not only information about vaccination, but it should also confirm immunity against the virus.

The President underscored the need for a unified vaccine communication policy, once again demonstrated by the situation with AstraZeneka. He pointed out that it was necessary to create as soon as possible an EU vaccine donation mechanism, enabling to increase the availability of vaccines to Eastern Partnership countries.

EU leaders also discussed relations with third countries. The Lithuanian President shared the insights of his visit to Ukraine and accentuated Russia’s aggressive posture not only to towards Eastern Partnership countries, but also towards the European Union.

Gitanas Nausėda urged EU leaders to keep to a strong and principled stance towards Russia. The President called for maintaining the five principles that define EU-Russia relations, implementing them in a balanced way and placing particular attention to the Eastern partners’ aspirations. He also called on the member states to strengthen their support to Russian civil society and show solidarity with the Russian people suffering from human rights violations.

Leaders exchanged views on the single market and digitalization. It was agreed to continue building the internal market by removing barriers to development, especially in the field of services. The importance of digital infrastructure, open public data, global standards, and digital skills were highlighted at the meeting.  The President underlined the need to increase the competitiveness of the digital sector, while maintaining an open internal market and international cooperation.

Small-scale European Council meetings are important for exchanging views on common EU goals. Taking part in the preparatory meeting were leaders of Belgium, Hungary, Poland, and Romania.

The President‘s Communication Group

Last updated 2021.03.23 16:36

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