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We should focus on discussing the issues that affect us the most. These include how we can develop democracy in Europe and how we can build a more secure European continent, not least in our part of Europe. They also include creating more jobs and sustainable growth, and continuing to develop a socially responsible and more gender-equal and fair Europe — a Social Europe. The EU is also needed as a coherent force so as to contribute to a safer world.

Not least, this involves the EU's crisis management capacity, preparedness to counter and strengthen resilience to hybrid threats, measures to prevent radicalisation, safeguarding respect for human rights and strengthening the role of women in peace and development. It is also essential that we ensure democracy, stability and economic growth in both our southern and our eastern neighbourhoods. EU support to the countries of the Eastern Partnership is therefore vital. The dialogue that the EU is conducting with Russia must be clear and principled, and the sanctions must remain in place until Russia lives up to its side of the Minsk Agreement.

Support to Ukraine must remain strong. The EU's role is also crucial in the areas of energy, climate and environment. To tackle the cross-border challenge that these issues represent, a coherent and ambitious climate, energy, environmental and nuclear safety policy is necessary to ensure a sustainable future for coming generations.


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The EU's Energy Union, with initiatives in areas such as renewable energy, interconnections, energy security and efficiency, is important, as are joint measures for a non-toxic environment. We should promote internationally agreed nuclear safety standards to third countries to avoid potential transboundary nuclear threats arising in the immediate EU neighbourhood. For these reasons, there is a need to strengthen the EU's capacity to act in the area of foreign policy. We also cooperate in the EU to safeguard freedom of expression and freedom of the press, and our fundamental values, which are being challenged by disinformation and propaganda.

This feels particularly relevant this year, since Sweden is celebrating the th anniversary of the Freedom of the Press Act, and it is 25 years since the Baltic States regained their freedom of expression and freedom of the press. The progress we have seen in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since the countries became members of the EU in May is remarkable. Foreign direct investment has multiplied, particularly from Sweden, which is the largest foreign investor in all three countries. The BSEC has many merits as a regional partner. Despite its limited resources and the heterogeneity of it membership, the BSEC has concrete achievements to show.

First, it has built a permanent an extensive institutional framework of cooperation that covers all levels of governance intergovernmental, parliamentary, and financial. Second, it has cultivated a spirit of cooperation among its member states, providing a forum for constant dialogue, exchange of ideas and experiences. Third, it has successfully elaborated binding agreements and common action plans on key issues of regional cooperation some 33 to date.

Apart from its bilateral focus, the EU is currently faced with a number of dilemmas as a result of pressure from many of its neighbours to enlarge and of its own internal gridlock regarding the future of Europe.

The Vilnius Nine and the Next Enlargement of NATO

The questions that arise are many: Are there concrete alternatives to enlargement? And most importantly: Is there no other way to approach this dilemma? Also important is the level and type of relationship with Russia. The growing interest in the region and the interplay of the various local, regional and international actors in and around the region suggest the need for clear, concise and precise analytical tools in order to understand better the various processes at play.

These also imply the definition of clear strategies on how to proceed, given the different agendas of state, transnational and non-state actors and the plethora of issues and concerns that shape the region. A key question is how to build new bridges without destroying the regional cohesion that has been in place for years. A starting point acceptable to all could be to focus on issues such as the rule of law, institutional renewal and good governance in order to reduce further instability. Another issue that calls for attention as an immediate priority is to engage in concerted conflict management and resolution of the various frozen conflicts.

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Morning Star Online. The Guardian. Le Nouvel Observateur.

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President of the Republic of Lithuania

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Retrieved 16 April Retrieved 18 August Article 2. Retrieved 5 January Archived from the original on 7 May Retrieved 22 December Wie soll Europa mit Russland umgehen? Archived from the original on 4 December Retrieved 1 February McFaul, West or East for Russia? Archived from the original on 4 March Foreign relations of Russia. Bilateral relations.

Multilateral relations. Foreign relations of the European Union. See also : Economic relationships with third countries. Australia New Zealand. Overseas territories of member states European microstates Largest trading partners Association Agreements Free trade agreements. Multilateral relations and initiatives. Administration and policies.

Defence forces of the European Union. Denmark Malta United Kingdom.

Lithuania-Belarus Relations on the Rise

Overseas interventions of the European Union 1. Mali — present Central African Republic — present Somalia — present. Moldova and Ukraine — present Libya — present Rafah — present. Kosovo — present.