President Dalia Grybauskaitė

The President to attend EU summit in Brussels

2016-10-19

Wednesday, October 19, Vilnius – President Dalia Grybauskaitė is leaving on a working visit to Brussels where she will attend the European Council meeting on October 20-21. The 28 EU leaders will discuss relations with Russia, migration, the ratification process of the EU-Ukraine association agreement, trade with global partners, as well as economic and climate change issues.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will provide a short update about preparations to start the notification procedure on Brexit in the March of next year.

European leaders will have a discussion on the EU’s relations with Russia, including its recent actions in Syria and the EU’s neighborhood: the bombing of civilian population in Aleppo, provocative behavior and demonstration of force in the Baltic Sea region, and the continuing aggression in Ukraine. This year alone, Russian air strikes in Syria killed 2,700 civilians.

The meeting will also focus on further steps to manage the migration crisis. The EU-Turkey agreement signed this past March has significantly reduced the influx of refugees from Syria. However, the Central Mediterranean route from Africa remains in use. Before the end of this year, the EU intends to establish partnerships with key countries of origin of illegal migration: Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Chad, and Ethiopia. There are also plans to set up an external investment fund to promote investment and create new jobs in African countries.

The European Border and Coast Guard was launched this October to improve the protection of external borders. Advance security checks will be also introduced for irregular migrants before their arrival to the European Union.

Among the other issues on the EU summit agenda is the implementation of the association agreement with Ukraine. The process of ratification has been suspended after the Netherlands rejected the agreement in a national referendum. It sends a very bad signal to the people of Ukraine who have strong aspirations to create a European future for their country, the President said.

Other topics to be covered are trade policy and economic issues, including the EU-Canada trade agreement (CETA). The Parliament of Wallonia has voted against signing CETA. The agreement would be beneficial for both Lithuanian and EU manufacturers. According to preliminary estimates, CETA will increase trade between the EU and Canada by 25 percent. Lithuanian exporters would save a total of 1.2 million euros in customs taxes.

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2016.10.19 16:27

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