The Foreign Affairs Council meeting on 31 January in Brussels adopted conclusions on EU Support for Sustainable Change in Transition Societies. The main aim is to help partner countries and their citizens promoting democratic governance, political and economic freedom.
“Until recently we were implementing essential reforms ourselves, as we were involved in state building ourselves, bringing about inclusive democracy and market economy. I remember well just how important the support that we received from Nordic and other friendly countries was at that time. It is time to repay our debt and to be active supporters of reforms,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said at the meeting.
The conclusions emphasize that recent changes in the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood countries (Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, etc.) and democratic reform processes in other regions of the world show that the EU support is essential aiming to consolidate these changes.
The European Union, especially those member states that joined the EU after 2004, have had significant experience with democratic reforms, which may be useful for countries in transition.
The conclusions summarize that in order to consolidate reforms it is necessary not only to ensure stability in transition countries, but also to promote human rights, the rule of law, democracy support and institution building. The fight against corruption, capacity development, as well as public service delivery and long-term reforms are also required.
When implementing long-term reforms, such tangible results as security and peace building, smooth democratic election and job creation are important. Engagement of all social and economic partners, civil society, political parties and the strengthening of the role of the national Parliaments are not less significant.
Lithuania has been successfully contributing to the democratisation process in partner countries for a long time. From 2004 to 2012, Lithuanian institutions (alone and with partners) were selected to implement 31 EU Twinning projects. According to the number of implemented projects, Lithuania occupies the first place among the member states that joined the EU after 2004.
The transition experience that has been accumulated by Lithuanian institutions and expert knowledge allow achieving such results. Lithuania’s forthcoming Presidency of the EU Council will seek to dedicate more attention to the aspects of application of the transition experience during the upcoming development cooperation events.