Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas met with EU diplomatic chief Catherine Ashton

06 September 2013, Last updated at, 11:07 EEST
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author: Alfredas Pliadis

On 5 September Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas met with Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. At the meeting the Lithuanian Minister and the high-ranking EU official conducting her first-ever visit in Lithuania addressed the points of the informal EU Defence Ministers meeting due to place on 5-6 September in Vilnius, preparations for the European Council on Defence to be held at the end of the year, and security situation in Syria. J.Olekas briefed the High Representative on the key priorities and agenda of Lithuania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

During its term in office as the Presidency country Lithuania seeks a closer EU cooperation in the Eastern neighbourhood, promotes European security dimension in defence sector, closer EU-NATO relations, and more efficient EU Battlegroups (EU BGs). According to the Minister, Lithuania’s Presidency priorities shape the key tasks in defence area of our country’s Presidency term.

The Lithuanian Defence Minister expressed his delight about the proactive Lithuania’s Presidency of the Council of the EU – July alone saw four successful events on defence and security issues. He also underlined that Lithuania had prepared plenty of proposals on cyber and energy security, and NATO–EU dialogue and partnerships.

The EU High Representative thanked Lithuania for the job done and support rendered as the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union when stating that the post-Lisbon importance of the role of the Presidency country remained undiminished. C. Ashton also underlined the significance of the role of the EU member states in the run-up for the European Council on defence. “December European Council is a unique opportunity to create political dynamics in defence sector and to stimulate better use of limited resources”, C. Ashton said.

On 5-6 September an informal EU Defence Minister meeting will take place in Vilnius. The meeting is one of the main steps in the run-up for the December European Council on Defence where possible recommendations for the European Heads of State and Government will be addressed at an informal level. Major events of the Presidency have also been arranged for the period between September and December: on 12-13 September Vilnius will host a seminar on energy security, a seminar on the efficiency of the EU Battlegroups will take place in London on 14–15 October, etc.

During the visit in Lithuania meetings of High Representative of the European Union Catherine Ashton and her delegation with President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė and Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius have been arranged as well as attendance at the Inter-Parliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy in the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania and at the informal EU Foreign Ministers meeting.


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