In Rome, Foreign Ministers agree that the challenges facing both Eastern and Southern Europe are common challenges for the EU
On 11-12 May, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis is paying an official visit to Italy, where he met with his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio to discuss bilateral relations, security situation in the region, relations with Russia and China, the situation in Belarus, Ukraine and the South Caucasus, the Eastern Partnership initiative, the EU enlargement, and the fight against the pandemic.
“This year marks the 30th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Lithuania and Italy. Next year, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the recognition of Lithuania’s independence by Italy. This is a perfect opportunity to raise our relationship to a higher level and to exchange high-level visits. There is also an enormous untapped potential in the area of developing economic cooperation, especially in relation to renewable energy, biotechnology and life sciences," said Landsbergis.
The Foreign Ministers agreed that the challenges facing both Eastern and Southern Europe were common challenges for the European Union. “We are interested in Italy’s greater involvement in the process of solving issues related to the Eastern Neighbourhood. At the same time, however, we are ready to address the challenges facing the Southern Europe region: migration, security in the Mediterranean, and others,” said the head of Lithuania's diplomacy.
Lithuanian and Italian Foreign Ministers also exchanged their views on the EU enlargement. “We should keep our promises made to the Western Balkan states that are candidates for EU membership. It is both a question of EU credibility and our common interest in seeing the Western Balkan states continue on their path to European integration. If we forget our promises made to the Western Balkan countries, we will lose credibility also in the eyes of our eastern partners," said Lithuania’s Foreign Minister.
Landsbergis thanked Italy for its contribution to ensuring the security of the Baltic region. Both Foreign Ministers voiced their concerns about Russia’s policy and the increasingly deteriorating human rights situation in this country. The Lithuanian Foreign Minister informed his counterpart about his visit to the South Caucasus last week. “The EU must be more active in this region. Otherwise third countries, such as Russia, China or Turkey, will fill the void left by it,” said Landsbergis. The Foreign Ministers stressed that it was important to further strengthen relations with the Eastern Partnership countries.
When discussing the situation in Belarus, the importance of support for civil society was emphasised. “We are grateful to Italy for the warm welcome of the Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Rome two weeks ago. Italy’s support for the Belarusian opposition and for the sanctions against the regime is of great importance," said the Foreign Minister.