“Lithuania consistently supports maintenance of a strong and wide security and defence cooperation of the European Union and the United Kingdom , and we hope that Brexit negotiations will bring results that satisfy both sides,” Minister Raimundas Karoblis said at a meeting with chief EU negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier on July 4.
Minister stressed at the meeting the crucial contribution of the United Kingdom to the security in our region and presented the constantly expanding Lithuania’s bilateral defence cooperation with the UK.
One of the most important new UK initiatives of strengthening security that Lithuania has joined is the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF).
“As recently as last week Lithuania signed the final Common Memorandum of Understanding on the formation of this force with the author of the idea United Kingdom and seven more countries of the Baltic Sea region in London,” R. Karoblis said.
According to the Minister, the JEF is not only one more deterrence and defence initiative strengthening the security of Lithuania and the whole region but also an instrument that makes European defence capabilities stronger.
After Brexit the United Kingdom will still be one of the key allies for European defence, therefore, according to Minister R.Karoblis, we should adjust the existing EU defence cooperation formats to new conditions so that the UK can continue to further participate and contribute its expertise and resources.
Chief Brexit negotiator M. Barnier confirmed that efforts were made to retain as ambitious level of EU-UK partnership and cooperation as possible after the transitional Brexit period. It is expected that due to their importance, security and defence matters will be arranged separately from other complex issues of the UK leaving the EU. M. Barnier also stressed the importance to retain the unity within the EU and observation of the agreed guidelines.
Minister also thanked the guest for the work being done and representation of the countries’ interests in the complex negotiations of the UK leaving the European Union, and assured that Lithuania stood ready to make every contribution to constructive EU decisions.