President of the Republic of Lithuania

The President: in the face of crisis we need common EU rules for movement of people

2020-03-18

On the night of March 17, President Gitanas Nausėda took part at an extraordinary European Council meeting convened using a video conference to discuss the situation in EU member states. The President personally addressed the European Council and leaders of the European Commission Charles Michel and Ursula Von der Leyen calling for greater coordination of member states’ response to the spread of coronavirus, cross-border movement of people, goods and services and the likely impact on economy.

The need to maintain solidarity among the member states and ensure the rights of EU citizens as well as proper movement of people, goods and services in the EU in the face of crisis was discussed at the video conference. “The current situation poses a challenge to the entire Community and it is vital to observe key values and principles of functioning of the Union. Europe should have common rules for movement of people during crisis to ensure safe return of EU citizens to their home countries”, said the President after the call.

According to the President, thousands of Lithuanian citizens are still in EU countries and national authorities and embassies put every effort to secure their return. The President emphasized that solidarity and responsible behavior of Lithuanian people seeking to return home was highly needed in this situation. “Current solutions are not the most convenient for travelers, but they are the best available under current circumstances. We must secure safe return of the Lithuanian citizens as well as safety of all parties, institutions and officials involved”, said the President.

The need to actively pursue economic stimulus measures in member states and ensure that economic activities, in particular free movement of goods, were subject only to minimum restrictions were also addressed. The President highlighted that Lithuania introduced ambitious measures at the national level (more than 5 percent of GDP) in response to economic threats however coordinated EU-wide efforts were needed to step up the national measures. It is highly important to safeguard smooth and coordinated cross-border movement of goods and services at European Union level to minimize the negative economic impact.

The President expressed hope that joint EU and national efforts would contribute to employment as well as economic and financial stability.

The President‘s Communication Group

Last updated 2020.03.18 09:05

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