Positive evaluation of the French Presidency

Lithuania
Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University
 
Lithuanian officials positively evaluate the French Presidency and praise the efficient steps taken forward during this half of the year. Lithuanian President, Valdas Adamkus, in his letter to the French ambassador to Lithuania, Francois Laumonier, emphasized that the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy and diplomats have taken efficient steps while solving problems caused by the global financial crisis, intermediating during the Georgian-Russian conflict. He also positively evaluated the French aspirations to strengthen the energy security of Europe, develop the EU internal energy interconnections, strengthen the relations with the EU Eastern and Southern neighbours, and the fight with the climate change and other global challenges.[1] He said that “while dealing with these challenges the EU demonstrated leadership and unity. That is why today the EU is stronger and better prepared to deal with the challenges of the 21. century”[2].
 
As the head of the Lithuanian permanent representation to the EU, Rytis Martikonis has stated it: “French Presidency has been wise and of the highest level. Maybe sometimes the opinions of Vilnius and Paris diverged, but the work has been organised professionally”[3]. Speaking during the European Parliament session, member of the European Parliament from Lithuania, Laima Andrikienė, has also praised the French Presidency and called it an excellent presidency. According to her, the Georgian events were a brilliant example that the EU can be in the center of the events, be united and solidary.[4]
 
High expectations from the Czech Presidency
 
The expectations of the Lithuanian officials from the Czech Presidency are generally high. Lithuanian President, Valdas Adamkus, evaluates the Czech Presidency with optimism.[5] He said that “a common goal to build a strong EU which would be open for its Eastern neighbours (i.e. would implemented ‘an open door’ enlargement policy), would unitedly seek to guarantee the energy safety, fight against the climate change and other global challenges and would decisively guard the ideals of freedom and democracy unites Lithuania and the Czech Republic”[6]. In a letter to the Czech President, Václav Klaus, he wrote: “I have no doubts that you will fulfill this essential and complicated mission appropriately and efficiently. I am definite that the long and rich history of your country, old diplomatic traditions, strong will of your people would allow you to achieve the defined goals”[7].
 
Czech Presidency priorities match the Lithuanian priorities in the EU
 
The Lithuanian President, Valdas Adamkus, positively evaluated the Czech decision to pay special attention to the European energy safety, strengthening of relations with Eastern neighbours and strengthening the transatlantic partnership. According to the President, these directions are very important if we want to have a strong and able EU to fight efficiently the challenges of the 21. century. He said “the named priorities of the Czech Presidency match the Lithuanian interests in foreign policy, energy and internal market”. Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister, Vygaudas Ušackas, also said that the Check priorities are the same as the main Lithuanian priorities in the EU and Lithuania supports these priorities.[8]
 
The Lithuanian President also emphasized that the motto of the Czech Presidency ‘Europe without borders’, reflects the Lithuanian aspirations to eliminate any impediments in the EU, which limit the economic, human, and cultural potential of Europe.[9]

A special attention to energy issues is congratulated
 
Speaking about the Czech priorities, Lithuanian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Osvaldas Čiukšys, paid special attention to energy issues. He expects that there will be progress in energy projects, which are important to Lithuania: “priorities, included into the Czech Presidency programme – strengthening of interconnections, the development of renewable energy sources, development of nuclear energy; all these things give hope that during the Czech Presidency, we will move forward at least in one of these directions”[10]. He also emphasized that Lithuanian and Czech positions towards Russia are very similar and he supposes that the EU policy towards this country should not change. As he said, “relationship with Russia has to be pragmatic and consistent, based on values, and this is what we are striving for, and Czechs emphasize exactly the same issues. There are little differences in our positions towards Russia and in most cases our positions are almost identical”[11].


 



[1] See: Prezidentas dėkoja Prancūzijai už pirmininkavimą ES (President thanks France for the EU Presidency), 19 December 2008, available at: http://www.euro.lt/lt/naujienos/apie-lietuvos-naryste-europos-sajungoje/... (last access: 25 January 2009).


[2] Valdas Adamkus (Lithuanian President): Prezidentas dėkoja Prancūzijai už sėkmingą pirmininkavimą ES ir priimtus susitarimus (President thanks France for successful presidency and made decisions), press release, 18 December 2008, available at: http://www.president.lt/lt/news.full/9992 (last access: 25 January 2009).


[3] Vilniaus diena (newspaper): ES peripetijų džiunglėse (In the jungles of the EU peripeties), 8 December 2008.


[4] See: Europos Parlamente – pagyrimai ir kritika Prancūzijos pirmininkavimui (In the European Parliament – praises and critics for the French Presidency), 17 December 2008, available at: http://www.euro.lt/lt/naujienos/apie-lietuvos-naryste-europos-sajungoje/... (last access: 25 January 2009).


[5] See: Čekijos pirmininkavimas ES Lietuvai bus palankus, turėtų pajudėti energetiniai projektai - Lietuvos ambasadorius Čekijoje (Czech Presidency should be favourable to Lithuania, energy projects should move, claims the Lithuanian ambassador to Czech Republic), 19 December 2008, available at: http://www.euro.lt/lt/naujienos/apie-lietuvos-naryste-europos-sajungoje/... (last access: 25 January 2009).


[6] See: Pirmininkavimą ES pradėjusios Čekijos vadovui Lietuvos prezidentas palinkėjo kurti solidarią Europą (Lithuanian President wished to build solidary Europe for the leader of the Czech Republic which has taken over the EU Presidency), 6 January 2009, available at: http://www.euro.lt/lt/naujienos/apie-lietuvos-naryste-europos-sajungoje/... (last access: 25 January 2009).


[7] Ibid.


[8] Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Ministry: Lietuvos užsienio reikalų ministras telefonu kalbėjosi su Čekijos Respublikos užsienio reikalų ministru (Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister has talked on the phone with the Czech Foreign Affairs Minister), press release, 22 December 2008, available at: http://www.urm.lt/index.php?-1799837100 (last access: 25 January 2009).


[9] Valdas Adamkus (Lithuanian President): Lietuvos Prezidentas palankiai vertina Čekijos pirmininkavimo ES prioritetus (Lithuanian President positively evaluates the priorities of the Czech Presidency), press release, 18 December 2008, available at: http://www.president.lt/lt/news.full/9991 (last access: 25 January 2009).


[10] See: Čekijos pirmininkavimas ES Lietuvai bus palankus, turėtų pajudėti energetiniai projektai - Lietuvos ambasadorius Čekijoje (Czech Presidency should be favourable to Lithuania, energy projects should move, claims the Lithuanian ambassador to Czech Republic), 19 December 2008, available at: http://www.euro.lt/lt/naujienos/apie-lietuvos-naryste-europos-sajungoje/... (last access: 25 January 2009).


[11] See: Čekijos pirmininkavimas ES Lietuvai bus palankus, turėtų pajudėti energetiniai projektai - Lietuvos ambasadorius Čekijoje (Czech Presidency should be favourable to Lithuania, energy projects should move, claims the Lithuanian ambassador to Czech Republic), 19 December 2008, available at: http://www.euro.lt/lt/naujienos/apie-lietuvos-naryste-europos-sajungoje/... (last access: 25 January 2009).