Thursday, October 20, Brussels – President Dalia Grybauskaitė and 27 EU leaders have gathered in Brussels for a two-day European Council meeting to address the situation in Syria, relations with Russia, the migration crisis, as well as economic and trade issues.
European leaders are discussing the deepening humanitarian crisis in Aleppo and Syria. The European Union strongly condemns actions by the Assad regime and Russia, resulting in massive loss of civilian life, air strikes against hospitals and humanitarian aid convoys. Such actions also increase migration inflows to Europe.
According to the President, Russia continues to escalate tension with the West, which has already expanded to the Cold War level. Trust is not possible when ceasefire is used only to win time and concentrate military force in Syria. One of the largest Russian naval deployments to the Mediterranean Sea in post-Cold War period is reported.
Russian air strikes have killed almost 3,000 civilians in Syria over the past year, and the humanitarian crisis is rapidly getting worse. The ceasefire in Ukraine is continuously violated; aggressive military provocations are carried out in the Baltic Sea region.
Further measures to manage the migration crisis are also on the meeting’s agenda. The President pointed out that the reduced flow of refugees from Turkey demonstrated that the EU-Turkey agreement was working. Partnerships should now be established with African countries of origin for illegal migration. Intensive dialogues have already been launched with Niger Nigeria, Mali, Chad, and Ethiopia.
The European Commission has proposed to set up an external investment fund aimed at improving the economic and social situation and fighting poverty in African countries.
According to the President, the protection of external borders is crucial for managing massive migration flows. Lithuania is ready to contribute to the newly established European Border and Coast Guard and to provide assistance on a bilateral basis to Bulgaria, Greece and Italy.
On Friday, European leaders will discuss trade policy and economic issues, including the EU-Canada trade agreement (CETA) as well as free trade negotiations with the United States and Japan.
Last updated 2016.10.20 20:53Back