Transatlantic relations should be strengthened

Lithuania
Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University

There is a general agreement in Lithuania that the transatlantic relations should be strengthened. During a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers, former Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister, Petras Vaitiekūnas, emphasized that “for the EU it is useful to strengthen the cooperation with the USA. It is especially important to develop a strategic dialog and practical cooperation in such fields as the common evaluation of the threats and crisis management”. According to the Minister, crisis in Georgia and dependency on the single supplier of the energy resources, increase the importance of the transatlantic dialogue.[1]
 
The new Lithuanian government formed after the autumn elections to the parliament, further sustains this position – in its programme the new government set a goal to seek for strengthening the relations between the EU and the USA. According to the government programme, direct participation of the USA in Western, Central, Eastern Europe, and the Baltic region, is an important factor for strengthening both Lithuanian and European security.[2] Speaking about the priorities of the Czech Presidency it is always emphasized, that the Czech goal to strengthen the transatlantic dialogue completely matches the interests of Lithuanian foreign policy.
 
The priorities for strengthening EU-USA relations are not really clear
 
Nevertheless, while speaking about strengthening the EU-USA dialogue, the priorities for strengthening this dialogue are not concretely named. Only member of the European Parliament from Lithuania, Justas Paleckis, elaborated more on the context of the EU-USA relationship. According to him, the USA is no longer able to fight with any threat to the planet alone. The same can be said about the rest of the world – it is not able to do anything without the USA. The USA and the EU can deal with the global challenges only cooperating with China, Russia, India and the states of Latin America and Africa. The following challenges in the agenda of the transatlantic cooperation are the most important: an efficient fight against the financial crisis, matters concerning energy security, rehabilitation of the international organisations, the reform of the United Nations Organization, and finally, stopping climate change. None of these challenges can be dealt with without the efforts from both sides of the Atlantic, according to Justas Paleckis.[3]
 




[1] Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Ministry: Lietuvos užsienio reikalų ministras: Europos Sąjunga turi stiprinti bendradarbiavimą su JAV (Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister: the EU has to strengthen the cooperation with the USA), press release, 5 September 2008, available at: http://www.urm.lt/index.php?-1151384726 (last access: 25 January 2009).


[2] See: Vyriausybės programa: užsienio politikoje siekti ES solidarumo, partnerystės su JAV, geros kaimynystės su Rusija (The programme of the government: to seek for the EU solidarity, partnership with the USA and good neighbourhood with Russia in foreign policy), 4 December 2008, available at: http://www.euro.lt/lt/naujienos/apie-lietuvos-naryste-europos-sajungoje/... (last access: 25 January 2009).


[3] Bernardinai (news portal): Justas Paleckis. Naujasis JAV prezidentas gręžiasi į Europą ir pasaulį (Justas Paleckis. the new president of the USA looks back to Europe and the world), 9 December 2008, available at: http://www.bernardinai.lt/index.php?url=articles/88743 (last access: 25 January 2009).