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Prime Minister: strengthening of national security is one of the top priorities

Date

2019 09 30

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Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has met with Ambassadors to NATO of countries contributing to the Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in Lithuania.  

At the beginning of the meeting, the Prime Minister has thanked the countries for their efforts to strengthen the security of Lithuania and NATO’s Eastern Flank. It has been stressed that NATO’s eFP multinational force is a strong deterrent and that the Lithuanian society is very supportive of its presence. A reinforced NATO Air Policing mission and intense military exercises contribute to deterrence, too.

‘My Government has significantly increased the public’s and the executive government’s attention to security. We are not panicking; we are simply telling our people the truth that investments into defence need to be increased. This is not an easy decision in terms of politics, but it is important. We do not see contradiction here about what needs to be funded first – the welfare state or defence. Everything is closely related’, said the Prime Minister.

It has been noted during the meeting that security situation remains tense at Lithuania’s borders, as Russia continues to strengthen its military capabilities and enhance its preparedness and seeks to isolate Lithuania and other Baltic countries from the remaining NATO allies in the event of a crisis.

‘We have to see the situation clearly. Our response time is inadequate, and defending the Baltic countries would cost too much time and lives for the time being. It is time to make additional decisions enabling quick movement and efficient response’, underlined the Head of Government.

Strengthening of national security is one of the top priorities of the Lithuanian Government. A firm decision has been made to continue to allocate 2 per cent of GDP for defence funding. One-third of that funding is invested in acquisitions, and this is one of the highest rates among the NATO allies.

According to Skvernelis, the December NATO summit in London must send a clear message of strong transatlantic link, unity of the Alliance and solidarity among its members. It is important that NATO continues to strengthen its defence and deterrence efforts. It is also important to reiterate the commitment on burden sharing.

This is a visit of permanent representatives to the North Atlantic Council of countries contributing troops to NATO’s eFP multinational battle group in Lithuania, deployed in Rukla.