L. Linkevičius: We look forward to positive decision on opening EU accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia
On 17 February, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius attended the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels. The Council discussed views on Libya and how to enhance EU engagement in the country, as well as the EU’s relations with Africa and India. In addition, Foreign Ministers and the Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama had an exchange of views on prospects for the opening of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia.
L. Linkevičius voiced his strong support for the European integration of Albania and North Macedonia: “Hopefully, the decision to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia will be taken in March. We have to take into account the candidates’ expectations and the work done. Both countries demonstrate that they are credible partners for the EU. They continue to fully align with all EU common foreign and security policy positions. Besides, Albania has been a NATO member since 2009.”
According to Lithuania’s Foreign Minister, the EU accession negotiations with these Western Balkan countries should take place parallel with the review of the EU’s enlargement policy.
In the debate on the EU’s relations and future strategic priorities with Africa, L. Linkevičius highlighted the principle of equivalence in the new comprehensive strategy for Africa.
“The EU-Africa cooperation must be based on an equal partnership. We are ready to continue to share our experience with African partners, with a particular focus on economic development, climate change, the provision of education, employment for young people and empowerment of women, laying the foundation for peace, security and stability," said the Foreign Minister.
Foreign Ministers also had a discussion ahead of the 15th EU-India Summit that is expected to take place on 13 March in Brussels. The Council also discussed plans to launch a new operation in the Mediterranean aimed at implementing the arms embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council. Lithuania supports the EU’s more active role in helping to stabilize the situation in Libya.
In Brussels, L. Linkevičius also attended the International Donors' Conference to mobilize support for Albania in the aftermath of the November 2019 earthquake. The natural disaster killed 51 people and injured at least 913 people. Lithuania has allocated EUR 60, 000 for humanitarian aid to Albania.