In a discussion of priorities of the Bulgarian EU Council Presidency, Linkevičius calls for proper attention to Eastern Partners
On 5 February, the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union convened a meeting of heads of mission of EU member states and EU candidate countries with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius to discuss the key priorities of the EU and foreign policy in the first half of 2018.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister, welcomed the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency and the attention dedicated to the Western Balkans region. He noted that it was equally important to continue the work begun in the Eastern Partnership countries, promoting economic and administrative reforms. Lithuania’s Foreign Minister also presented Lithuania’s approach towards the strengthening of European security and defence, the EU-NATO cooperation, relations with Russia, assistance to Ukraine, the EU’s enlargement policy, and energy security.
As regards the EU’s enlargement policy, Linkevičius emphasized that Lithuania supported the EU’s enlargement policy based on the countries’ individual achievements. “A clear European orientation of all the EU candidate countries is important as well as the Common Foreign and Security Policy alignment, despite pressure by third countries,” said Lithuania’s Foreign Minister.
As regards the need to keep up the pace of reforms for the Eastern Partnership countries, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister emphasized that the EU’s support remained crucial, while the Lithuania-initiated European plan for Ukraine would help to maintain the pace of reforms and ensure sustainability, improve financial absorption and increase economic growth.
The meeting focused on the EU’s single position towards sanctions against Russia and on keeping the sanctions in place until full implementation of the Minsk agreements. In addition, other priorities of the EU agenda were discussed, such as continued work to address the challenges of migration, and to engage in a dialogue with citizens on the future of Europe.
This event is a traditional meeting, which is organized by the Presidency of the Council of the EU.