Minister of National Defence J. Olekas underlined the importance of cooperation with Eastern neighbours for European and Lithuanian security interests

04 July 2013, Last updated at, 09:09 EET
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J. Olekas | author: KAM

Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas underlined the importance of the cooperation with the EU neighbours to European security and Lithuania’s particular focus to the relations with the Eastern partners in his opening address at the high-level seminar on Eastern Partnership which commenced in Vilnius on 2 July.

According to the Minister, Lithuania is a keen supporter of the Eastern Partnership initiative with regard to Lithuania’s deep historic links with this region, intensive economic relations, and the fact that EU’s eastern border is also a Lithuanian external border.  

“Building a secure neighbourhood is the strategic interest of Lithuania’s security and defence policy. We are keen on making a difference through engagement and cooperation with our Eastern neighbours, on contributing to their democratic development and reform processes. This, if successful, should positively affect our regional and European security,” Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas said at the opening of the seminar.

The Minister also emphasised that inclusiveness should be the guiding principle for building an effective security architecture among the likeminded countries which adhere to the same democratic principles.

“Only through such inclusive approach will we be able to ensure security and guarantee a long-term stability on the European continent,” Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas said.

When addressing practical aspects of CSDP cooperation with the Eastern partners Minister Olekas underlined a need for more proactive involvement of the EU partners into the CSDP by inviting them to join the EU exercises, training activities and operations. The Minister also encouraged the partners to be more proactive in taking advantage of the EU expertise and experience in the area of Security Sector Reform.

The high-level international seminar on Eastern Partnership marking the beginning of Lithuania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union is organised with a view of addressing common security interests of the EU member states and the Eastern partners as well as the EU partners’ readiness to contribute to the CSDP initiatives by practical means.

The event is attended by high-ranking policy-makers from 27 EU and Eastern Partnership countries, representatives of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Union Military Committee (EUMC), and experts of non-governmental organisations.

Other speakers at the seminar on 2 July were Deputy Secretary General for the EEAS Maciej Popowski, Minister of Defence of Latvia Artis Pabriks, Chairman of EU Military Committee General Patrick de Rousiers, and Minister of Defence of Georgia Irakli Alasania.

During its term, Lithuania will seek to intensify the EU cooperation with its Eastern partners (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) within the area of CSDP and to include a discussion of this cooperation along with other CSDP issues to the European Council scheduled to take place at the end of this year.

As the host country of the EU Presidency, Lithuania will also aim at assessing the instruments that would allow a closer cooperation of partner countries in the CSDP area with a view of promoting security sector reforms in the partner countries and contributing to building a safer Eastern neighbourhood.

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