Minister Logar concludes his working visit to the Baltics by meeting Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linkevičius
Minister of Foreign Affairs Anže Logar concluded his three-day visit to the Baltic countries in the Republic of Lithuania, where he met with his host, Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius. The foreign ministers discussed opportunities for further strengthening cooperation between the two countries, both on the European and multilateral level. They also found time to touch on the challenges the EU is facing in coordinating measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. Also high on the agenda were the latest developments in Belarus and in this context, Minister Logar met Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya in Vilnius.
Slovenia and Lithuania maintain regular political dialogue, share similar views on numerous international issues, and cooperate closely within the EU and NATO, as well as within other international forums. As regards economic cooperation, the ministers agreed that there is great potential for enhancement.
Minister Logar outlined for his Lithuanian opposite number the priority tasks of Slovenia’s presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2021, particularly related to developing the EU’s response plan for emergency situations, of which the current pandemic is a pertinent example. He also called for strengthening of the Union's resilience to cyberattacks and drew attention to the Conference on the Future of Europe, which will partly take place under Slovenia’s presidency.
The ministers then moved on to European issues, namely the future of the EU and its enlargement policy. Both expressed their support for the EU enlargement process, agreeing that it is imperative to put in concerted efforts and create the conditions needed to ensure progress is made in the Western Balkans. As regards international issues, they expressed concern over the latest developments in Belarus and stressed the need for the EU’s unified response in this matter.
The counterparts turned to the topic of coordinating measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 at the EU level, including the recommendation that Member States agree on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement. They agreed that it is essential to maintain a certain degree of flexibility on the national level of each Member State when adopting and implementing these measures. Minister Logar pointed out that measures to mitigate the social and economic fallout of the pandemic must be further addressed if the EU economic recovery is to be successfully boosted.
As part of his visit, Minister Logar also met with Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who sought refuge in Lithuania in the wake of the presidential elections. The pair discussed the situation in Belarus, namely the violence used against representatives of the opposition, issues related to holding democratic elections, respect for human rights and freedoms, and the ways in which the EU might be able to step up its engagement with the region. Minister Logar expressed his support for the opposition's democratic endeavours and stated that Slovenia advocates for the establishment of dialogue among all political stakeholders, calls for a peaceful dialogue, and fully supports the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe in their efforts at this challenging time.