President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė attended a meeting of the Presidents of the three Baltic States
This year, President Bronisław Komorowski of Poland is also invited to take part in the traditional meeting the main purpose of which is to discuss regional security measures.
The Lithuanian head of state together with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Latvian President Andris Bērziņš and Polish President Bronisław Komorowski reviewed the implementation of decisions adopted at the NATO Summit in Wales as well as energy, information and cyber security issues.
“Our countries have a shared goal – secure and economically strong region. We will only achieve this goal by standing together in the implementation of long-term collective defense measures and strategic projects aimed at ensuring the region’s energy self-sufficiency,” the President said.
At the NATO Summit held in early September in Wales, the leaders of the allied states endorsed the Readiness Action Plan, agreed to set up NATO command and control elements in the Baltic States and Poland and create a very high readiness rapid response force. In response to the threats posed to the region, NATO air policing mission was reinforced in the Baltics and allied troops arrived for military exercises in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland.
Among the other issues addressed at the meeting was the increasing of energy independence. Estonia‘s President Toomas Hendrik Ilves thanked Lithuania for its contribution to enhancing energy security of the whole region. The Klaipėda liquefied natural gas terminal coming into operation this year will be able to cover even 90 percent of the three Baltic States’ gas supply needs, if necessary.
President Grybauskaitė underlined that it was important to continue other strategic energy projects: complete power interconnections with Sweden and Poland, synchronize successfully the Baltic power system with European networks, improve the permeability of the existing internal gas links, and liberalize the gas market to enable Lithuania’s and Estonia’s access to the unique underground gas storage facility in Inčukalns.
Ways to counter the dissemination of war propaganda was one of the most pressing topics of discussion at the meeting. As agreed, it is essential to seek EU financing opportunities for the alternative programmes in the Russian language, develop the European strategic communication plan and improve EU legislation governing the audiovisual sector. This last summer, the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence was opened in Latvia. Lithuania and Estonia actively engaged in the center’s work.
Key priorities of the Latvian Presidency of the EU Council starting from 1 January 2015 were presented during the meeting. President Grybauskaitė congratulated Latvia on its upcoming EU Presidency underlying that Lithuania understands very well the challenges ahead of this country and is ready to provide all the necessary assistance. Lithuania stood at the helm of the EU Council in the second half of 2013.
Regular meetings of the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian Presidents are held in a different Baltic state each year.