Linas Linkevičius: France, a strategic partner in enhancing Lithuanian security
On 10 February Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius had a meeting with French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves le Drian in Paris. They discussed the key issues of bilateral cooperation, security, the European Union and NATO, and the European Neighbourhood.
Mr Minister thanked his counterpart for the French contribution into the security of the Baltic countries. “The French Air Force conducted NATO air policing missions in the Baltic states for seven times already, five of which were in Lithuania. This year France is going to send the second mission of its servicemen who will join the NATO forward presence troops,” Mr Linkevičius said.
The visit of French President Emmanuel Macron, expected this year, was discussed at the meeting. The Ministers agreed to fill strategic partnership between Lithuania and France with more real substance to make it still stronger. Closer cooperation between the two states in countering hybrid threats, enhancing cyber security and resilience against cyber-attacks were also discussed. The Ministers also touched upon counter-terrorism efforts by the international community in the Sahel region of Africa.
Linas Linkevičius underlined that Russia’s behaviour was not changing therefore there was no ground for changing European Union’s policy towards this country. “We must strengthen our resilience against threats from Russia and at the same time support Russian civil society”, Mr Minister noted.
The Lithuanian Foreign Minister also stressed a need to step up EU support for on-going reforms in the associated Eastern Partnership countries. Lithuania seeks permanent and consistent European support to Ukraine which is vital in ensuring the pace and sustainability of its reforms. Those matters were on the discussion table at the meeting with Ambassador Pierre Vimont, the French President’s special representative for the dialogue with Russia, too.
Minister Linkevičius discussed negotiations on the 2021-2027 EU budget with Amelie de Montchalin, Minister of State in charge of European Affairs. “Lithuania looks forward to France’s support in the negotiations on the MFF as the current draft is unacceptable to Lithuania,” Mr Minister noted. They also talked about further EU enlargement.