President of the Republic of Lithuania

Europe must assume responsibility for its security

2019-01-10

Thursday, January 10, Vilnius President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with the participants of the Snow Meeting – a gathering of influential foreign policy, security and defense experts whose insights have a decisive impact on the future of transatlantic relations.

The Snow Meeting, also referred to as the Little Davos, is a traditional informal forum hosted for the twelfth time in Trakai. It attracts prominent western political analysts, academics, think tank experts, as well as foreign affairs and defense ministers from other countries.

At the meeting, attended by former commanding general Ben Hodges of the US Army Europe, well-known journalist Edward Lucas, Judy Dempsey, author of a book The Merkel Phenomenon, and other prominent analysts, the President highlighted that as tendencies of fragmentation deepen and transatlantic relations weaken, Europe must assume responsibility for its own defense by maintaining NATO’s unity and reforming its defense in line with changing threats.

According to the President, any vacuum or lack of leadership gives way for the aggressor to continue aggression and destabilization on the international stage, therefore strong commitment to defense of every NATO ally and consistent strengthening of Alliance’s response to conventional and hybrid threats is the best deterrence. Building up the capacity of the Alliance in terms of military mobility, rapid deployment of military support and air defense, if needed, is extremely relevant to Lithuania.

According to the President, enhanced EU cooperation in the security area may have an added value. Therefore Europe should not fear assuming more responsibility for its own security and consistently increase defense funding.

The President also emphasized that a tough year lies ahead of Europe, there’s still a lot of uncertainty regarding Brexit, the rise of populist forces in Europe is felt before the elections to the European Parliament and more over, EU Member States started long and complex negotiations on the new EU multiannual budget. It is highly important to look for uniting and not dividing factors in order to maintain this longterm geopolitical architecture which helped us ensure security and prosperity of the Old Continent for decades.

The President further stressed that consolidated support of western countries to Ukraine was a security guarantee to Lithuania, our region and the whole of Europe. There has to be a firm response to the aggressor, otherwise it will use indecision and lack of leadership in the West and will cynically continue breaching international law.

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2019.01.11 08:57

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