President of the Republic of Lithuania

The President will travel to Brussels on a working visit

2018-10-16

Tuesday, October 16, Vilnius President Dalia Grybauskaitė is leaving for Brussels tomorrow, October 17, to attend the European Council Summit and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

The European Council will mostly focus on Brexit. Last week, the European Commission and the United Kingdom failed to agree on the withdrawal treaty and a model for future relations. At the Brussels European Council, EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier will present the state of Brexit talks and further negotiating steps.

The European Council will also address external relations, sanctions against Russia, internal security, and migration. Leaders are expected to reach a final agreement on additional sanctions for using chemical weapons. The Salisbury attack, when the Russian-made nerve agent Novichok was deployed to kill people, has demonstrated very clearly that the Kremlin is not afraid to cross the boundary and use internationally banned chemical warfare agents on European territory in times of peace.

Lithuania, together with a group of other countries, proposes to introduce sanctions for cyber attacks, too. This is highly important in order to protect national European democratic processes as well as energy, financial and other strategic infrastructure. Brazen cyber attacks are becoming commonplace and are widely used by hostile intelligence services as a weapon of hybrid warfare. Last year alone, Lithuania was subjected to 55 thousand cyber attacks, with one-third of them directed against its vital energy sector. The Dutch intelligence has recently thwarted a hacking operation by Russia's GRU into the international chemical weapons watchdog (OPCW) headquarters in the Hague, causing wide international resonance.

EU leaders will also review long-term measures to manage migration flows. Lithuania keeps to a consistent position that compulsory quotas are not effective. Instead, it is necessary to strengthen cooperation with third countries and to provide support to countries of illegal migration in order to improve their social, economic and internal security situation. Yet another essential step that the European Union needs to make is to strengthen its own external borders through streamlined efforts.

Lithuania proposes to create a single set of EU border standards for introducing unified systems, modern surveillance and control technologies across member states. It would help to eliminate the existing loopholes that provide irregular migrants with easy access to the Schengen area in some member states. Modern and effective external border control is very important to Lithuania that controls a 1,070-kilometer EU borderline.

In Brussels, the President will also attend the Euro Summit to discuss ways of improving the resilience of the euro against possible financial crises.

The EU faces a long process of negotiating the new multi-annual financial framework, but this will be discussed at the December European Council.

During her visit to Brussels, the President will represent Lithuania at the Asia-Europe (ASEM) summit. ASEM was established at Singapore's initiative in 1996 in Bangkok as a forum for dialogue aimed at dealing with global challenges and strengthening cooperation in trade, investment, connectivity, sustainable development, climate change, and security. Today it places special focus on counter-terrorism, non-proliferation, cyber security, and migration.

ASEM summits are held every two years. It currently has 53 European and Asian partners that together represent 60 percent of the global population. ASEM countries account for 55 percent of the international trade, 65 percent of the world's GDP and 75 percent of global tourism.

Lithuania became ASEM partner country when it joined the European Union in 2004.

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2018.10.16 15:04

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