President Dalia Grybauskaitė together with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis and Estonian Prime Minister Juri Raatas discussed topical matters on the EU agenda. At the start of a new and important EU political season, leaders need to focus on the Union’s security, the multiannual EU budget, the challenges of international trade, migration, and Brexit.
The President highlighted that Europe must remain a strong global player. We have full responsibility and potential to do that. It only depends on the unity of the member states whether geopolitical tensions, rewriting of international trade rules and challenges to multinational diplomacy will become a series of crises or an opportunity for Europe to step up its global role.
According to the President, the geopolitical situation requires Europe to invest more in security. To this end, it is crucial to ensure sufficient defense funding, participate more actively in international missions, enhance the defensibility and the resilience of European countries to cyber and other hybrid threats. The EU must also stand united in defending its trade interests in the world. We can only be heard when we speak with one voice and we can only resolve trade disputes by means of principled dialogue with all partners.
The new multiannual EU budget should be in line with Europe’s global priorities. Dalia Grybauskaitė emphasized that our regional interest is to have EU financial support for agriculture and structural funds allocated based on objective and non-discriminatory criteria.
We need a strong European response to migration challenges, too. To stop illegal migration flows, we must encourage joint efforts to protect the Union’s external borders by enhancing the FRONTEX agency, use financial and other instruments and help to address the root causes of migration in the third countries. The EU and Turkey agreement is working and we need to find similar models for other countries of the region.
Brexit also demands the leaders’ attention. It is in our common interest that Brexit happens in constructive terms, without painful consequences to UK and EU, so that the rights of our citizens are protected. And that the future relations between the EU and UK are beneficial for the both sides. Situation is not simple, there are a lot of discussions within the UK, but we are ready to be positive, active and understanding in order to reach an agreement.