Lithuania's Foreign Vice-Minister Neliupšienė at the EU's General Affairs Council: Europe needs European energy solutions
Support for Ukraine, energy prices, European defence capabilities in the face of Russia's aggression, relations with the United Kingdom — these and other topical issues were discussed by the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Jovita Neliupšienė at the General Affairs Council in Brussels on 18 November.
“Let's remember that the flag of Europe was the first one to fly over the liberated city of Kherson. This sends a very strong signal to us, Europeans, who are continuing to discuss the EU aid to Ukraine,” Neliupšienė said, urging the EU member states to immediately decide on the EU’s macro-financial assistance to support Ukraine next year. The EU must also immediately adopt further sanctions against Russia.
Lithuania raised the issue of Russia’s accountability for aggression and urged the European Commission to offer a proposal regarding the creation of an international tribunal as soon as possible.
Lithuania also called on the EC to come forward with further proposals on measures to reduce high energy prices. “There is currently just a month until Christmas Day, and we have been discussing urgent measures to control energy prices since September. The European Commission must immediately put forward legal proposals to limit gas prices. The European Council, which is to be held on 15-16 December, is the last deadline after which Lithuanian and other European citizens must feel the effects of real decisions on their lives," Neliupšienė said.
The Council also discussed the European defence capability development over the past year, building on the Commission's key action plan on military mobility of last week and evaluating proposals for strengthening cyber defence. However, according to the Foreign Vice-Minister, the EU member states' capacity to defend themselves depends on their own contribution to their security. “Lithuania constantly emphasises the need to develop the EU member countries' defence capability — and Europe's as a whole. It is glad that the assessment of threats to Europe coincides — Russian aggression has done its job, so we can reasonably expect an even stronger Europe," Neliupšienė said.
The security of the EU goes hand in hand with the readiness of its closest allies to defend themselves. “We can conclude that these days the understanding between the EU and the United Kingdom is as good as never before,” Neliupšienė noted during a discussion on the EU-UK relations. Maintaining close ties with one of NATO’s strongest allies is of vital importance for Lithuania.
On the margins of the General Affairs Council, the European Commission also presented its 2023 work programme and discussed the situation of compliance with Union values set out in Article 7(1) TEU in Hungary.
Photos: European Council