President Gitanas Nausėda attends the European Council in Brussels where leaders discuss key issues in the European Union. The first day’s meeting intended to discuss the management measures of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination strategy, the fight against climate change and relations with third countries lasted until morning.
As to the spread of the COVID-19 in the Union, the President emphasized the need to complete all the necessary procedures to start vaccination in the EU as soon as possible. The President expressed hope that the vaccine would be available to the EU’s neighboring countries, namely the Eastern Partnership countries. The Council stressed that it was too early to talk about the release of quarantine restrictions and that this should be coordinated across the EU.
Another important topic of the Council meeting is the fight against climate change. The President confirmed Lithuania’s commitments to meet the climate change targets set for 2030 and 2050. The leaders agreed to reduce the CO2 emissions at EU level by at least 55 percent by 2030. According to the President, commitments should be accompanied by the funding instruments and cross-border carbon offsetting mechanism. “Lithuania can already be proud of significant achievements in the field of renewable energy. In its programme, the new Government of Lithuania provides a rather detailed presentation of the greening goals which are also set out in my vision of Welfare Lithuania”, said the President.
During the Council meeting, the President addressed the situation in Belarus. December 10, on World Human Rights Day, the EU leaders expressed their solidarity with Belarusian civil society fighting for democratic values and human rights.
The President pointed out to the EU leaders that the Ostravets NPP started operating before the recommendations of the safety stress tests were implemented. The Council called on the European Commission to develop measures to prevent electricity from third country power plants which fail to comply with nuclear safety and environmental requirements from entering the EU market. “This is a very important decision not only for Lithuania, but also for the EU as a whole. I have no doubt that the work of the Lithuanian institutions and negotiators will serve to implement this provision”, the President said.
The EU leaders also discussed linking the multiannual financial framework and the rule of law. Lithuania takes the view that the rule of law is an integral part of any democracy. The President emphasized that clear and uniform criteria for the rule of law applicable to all member states were needed. After agreeing on the rule of law, the EU leaders reached a compromise on the approval of the multiannual financial framework and the Recovery Fund.
The leaders exchanged views on transatlantic relations and strengthening thereof and expressed a view that the EU had an excellent opportunity to strengthen cooperation with the new US administration in the fields of security and defense, climate change, trade, and foreign policy.
The EU leaders welcomed the adoption of EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime and extended sanctions against Russia as it did not show progress in implementing the Minsk agreements.