On 20 September, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Audronius Ažubalis and Chairman of the German Bundestag’s Committee on Foreign Affairs Ruprecht Polenz in Vilnius discussed the priorities of the EU agenda, Lithuania’s preparation to chair the Council of the EU and bilateral cooperation.
“The approach of Lithuania and Germany towards the solution to the euro zone crisis is very similar - euro zone needs growth and fiscal discipline, and the driving force should be innovation and efficiency. This requires bold steps and Lithuania’s example shows that they lead to results,”Ažubalis said.
The Minister stressed that Lithuania was responsibly preparing to hold the Presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2013. According to the Minister, the main aim is to ensure smooth Presidency and continuity of on-going activities. Among other key priorities of Lithuania’s Presidency is energy security, strengthening the Eastern Partnership and the protection of the EU’s external borders, the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.
Ažubalis stressed his close cooperation with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. “Lithuania supports most of the proposals by the Future of Europe Group, initiated by Germany`s Foreign Affairs Minister - a stronger Europe may be the answer to many emerging nowadays issues and, even though under current circumstances a large-scale reform of the EU might not receive support, we have to open a dialogue right now,” Ažubalis said.
The meeting also discussed cooperation with the EU Eastern Partnership countries.
“Despite other challenges facing Europe and its neighbouring countries, the Eastern Partnership cannot be underestimated - we have to stay focused on providing both political and financial support,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister said.
Before coming to Lithuania, Polenz also visited Estonia and Latvia.
Germany is among Lithuania’s most important partners in the EU and NATO, ranked second amongst Lithuania’s major foreign trading partners and third in the list of leading investors in Lithuania.