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Prime Minister: Lithuania and the world need a strong European Union that is a leader

Date

2021 06 03

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On her visit to Brussels, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė has met with President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and has discussed a more active and united role of the EU globally, the pandemic management, the rapid approval of the Recovery and Resilience Plan for Lithuania, climate change management measures, threats posed by the unsafe Astravets NPP to all EU citizens, implementation of the strategic energy and transport projects in the Baltic states, a united European response to the aggressive actions by the regimes of Russia and Belarus, the China challenge, and support for the Eastern Partnership countries.

In her meetings with the EU leaders, the Prime Minister has called on the EU to unanimously respond to both the aggressive actions by Russia and Belarus, and challenges posed by China.

The Prime Minister has thanked President of the European Council Charles Michel for his personal involvement in dealing with the political crisis in Georgia and support for the Eastern Partnership initiative. The Head of Government has stressed that today it is more important than ever to support the European aspirations of Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, and to devote more attention to Armenia, Azerbaijan, and civil society of Belarus.

The Prime Minister has expressed her appreciation of the European Council’s swift and united response to the hijacking of Ryanair’s civilian aircraft, and has stressed the need for a consistent and united effort to increase pressure on the regime of Belarus, adopt effective sanctions, and seek that all political prisoners are released and free and democratic elections are held as soon as possible.

‘It is highly important that the European institutions have immediately adopted recommendations for air carriers, given that Belarusian airspace is unsafe. Today Belarusian airspace is empty. It is necessary to continue to ensure the active involvement of the European Commission in the transparent international investigation conducted by ICAO,’ said the Prime Minister.

According to the Prime Minister, at the same time, we have to strengthen support for the civil societies of both Belarus and Russia.

‘The regime of Belarus is ignoring international norms and standards even in the field of nuclear safety, which poses a threat to the entire Europe. We expect even more active EU support in urging Minsk to suspend the operation of the unsafe Astravets Nuclear Power Plant until all the deficiencies of nuclear safety are addressed, and to ensure that electricity produced by unsafe power plants does not enter the EU market,’ said Prime Minister Šimonytė.

The Prime Minister has requested greater attention from the European Commission to strengthening border controls with Belarus, which is the EU’s eastern border.

‘We are seeing a multiplication of illegal migration flows across the border of Belarus. It is all the more worrying that this illegal migration occurs with the knowledge and assistance of the regime, with the border service of Belarus removing traces of illegal migration,’ said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister has informed the President of the European Commission that Lithuania had decided to accept 10 refugees fleeing to Italy.

‘Lithuania’s solidarity with Italy and the EU as a whole gives us hope that we will continue receiving European solidarity, and this solidarity will only strengthen,’ said Šimonytė.

The Prime Minister has thanked the President of the European Commission for the EU support for the implementation of the strategic infrastructure projects – synchronisation of electricity grids, gas interconnections, and financing and implementation of the Rail Baltica project.

The Prime Minister has noted that Lithuania’s economy is among the fastest recovering economies in the world after the pandemic. According to the Prime Minister, proper implementation of the RRF plan will help Lithuania implement the required reforms necessary to achieve fundamental changes in managing climate change and following the digital agenda.