Lithuania's Foreign Vice-Minister Pranckevičius: Europe must be ready to respond to hybrid attacks by Belarus
On 13 September, the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Arnoldas Pranckevičius met with the Austrian Federal Minister for the European Union and Constitution Karoline Edtstadler. The meeting focused on the EU's joint response to the challenges of irregular migration, the state of play of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the rule of law, climate change, relations with China, the management of COVID-19, and other issues of bilateral relations.
The Foreign Vice-Minister Pranckevičius thanked Austria for its support in addressing migration. Austria has already provided humanitarian assistance to Lithuania. The country has donated 50 modular houses and deployed officials of its special operations tactical unit — EKO Cobra — to Lithuania. According to the Foreign Vice-Minister, although the situation at the Lithuanian border has now stabilised, it is necessary to sustain the EU's coordinated action in order to address the challenges of irregular migration.
“Risks of the emergence of new trends in irregular migration remain, mainly due to a difficult political and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan,” said the Foreign Vice-Minister. Thanks to Lithuania's effort, a significant number of Afghans, who assisted the Lithuanian forces, as well as members of their families, have been evacuated from Afghanistan.
The Foreign Vice-Minister stressed the importance of the common EU response to possible new hybrid attacks by the Belarusian regime, the need to strengthen the EU’s capacities in the field of readmission of migrants, and to improve our protection of EU external borders.
“The EU law must be improved. In the future, it should enable member states to act quickly and defend their national security in response to similar hybrid operations by undemocratic regimes that are instrumentalising migration for their own political purposes,” said Pranckevičius.
As regards the state of play of the Conference on the Future of Europe, Pranckevičius expressed his hope that by participating in the conference, Lithuanian citizens would get more involved in the EU's decision-making processes.
On 24 August, the Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg also visited Lithuania.