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

Preparatory European Council meeting: focus on the EU’s global role and the Western Balkans

2021-09-29

On Wednesday, President Gitanas Nausėda participated in a remote preparatory meeting for the European Council with European Council President Charles Michel. Taking part in the meeting were also representatives from Slovenia, Croatia, Finland, Slovakia, and Greece.

The video conference was held to prepare for the informal European Council meeting scheduled in Slovenia on October 5-6. It will focus on EU relations with China, the United States and Western Balkans. It will also address Afghanistan and related issues.

At the preparatory meeting, President Gitanas Nausėda said that the EU must help the Afghan people, especially by providing humanitarian aid. It was also necessary to deal with illegal migration and human trafficking and to see them in a broader context of fighting hybrid threats. The EU's migration, asylum and border protection policies must be adjusted to prevent undemocratic regimes from manipulating the EU asylum policy. Gitanas Nausėda called on Charles Michel to have this issue included on the agenda for the next formal European Council meeting.

“EU institutions and member states must be given tools to fight back against hybrid attacks. We need to be ready to respond effectively to any illegal border crossings, to increase the EU’s capacity for returning illegal migrants to their countries of origin, to accept asylum applications only at border crossing points and diplomatic representations, and to effectively use EU programmes to strengthen border control,” the President said.

Speaking about EU-China relations, the President stressed the need to strengthen the EU’s economic and security resilience, to demonstrate unity and solidarity. “This can be best ensured by talking to China in the 27+1 format,” the President said.

The President also pointed out that in the current geopolitical context, it was important for the EU to foster relations with its allies and to strengthen transatlantic unity. According to Gitanas Nausėda, strong ties and close cooperation with global partners, especially the United States, are the only way to respond effectively to climate change, security and other challenges that the EU faces today.

Gitanas Nausėda underscored Lithuania's support for EU enlargement in the Western Balkans and called for holding an intergovernmental conference with North Macedonia and Albania as soon as possible. “The EU must honor its commitments to candidate countries. The enlargement process is crucially important for the EU, Western Balkan countries and the Eastern Partnership,” the President said.

The President‘s Communication Group

Last updated 2021.09.29 16:30

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