New challenges unfold as Lithuania enters the European Union and NATO. Active and committed membership of the EU and NATO, enhanced cooperation within the Baltic Sea region, good and viable relations with the EU’s neighbouring countries and other regions worldwide emerge as top foreign policy priorities of today’s Lithuania. Fast integration into global markets and participation in the global efforts to ensure democracy, human rights, peace and stability complement Lithuania’s aim to be a responsible member of the modern international community.
Active and committed membership of the EU and NATO
Lithuania pursues the vision of a united European community governed by the principle of solidarity. Its goal is to enhance regional cooperation, thus strengthening the EU and promoting European values across the EU’s borders. It can provide its knowledge and transition experience to the neighbours of an enlarged Union, and stimulate democratic changes in a still-widening EU neighbourhood. One fifth of the EU’s border in the East is the border of Lithuania. Europe-wide cooperation is essential to ensure an effective management of EU’s external border.
The country’s policies also contribute to the consolidation of Euro Atlantic security. Lithuania has joined peacekeeping operations in various countries. Today it seeks to further endorse the spirit of the ‘Vilnius Ten’ process and transatlantic cooperation, to participate in NATO at full strength, and to pursue the mission of the Alliance for the benefit of security at home and worldwide.
Enhanced cooperation within the Baltic Sea region and the EU neighbourhood
The Baltic Sea region is emerging as the most dynamic region of the enlarged Europe. Infrastructure development and the removal of artificial barriers to cooperation are issues to be resolved in the immediate future.
Lithuania enjoys strategic partnerships with Poland and Ukraine, open and cooperative relations with Russia, a pragmatic dialogue with Belarus, and a growing number of economic and political partnerships with other countries. Cooperation experience and its new capacity as a member of the EU and NATO allow it to expand the geography and the scope of these partnerships. New instruments such as the EU’s Wider Europe/New Neighbours Initiative will help to intensify the dialogue with the Kaliningrad region of the Russian Federation, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova, and reach out to the countries of the South Caucasus.
Promotion of Lithuania’s faster integration into global markets
Economic diplomacy has been an important tool in stimulating Lithuania’s economic growth and social development. The country is ready to share its dynamic potential to help the European Union achieve its goals enshrined in the Lisbon Strategy. Furthermore, globalisation brings new opportunities for the expansion of Lithuanian exports to formerly unreachable markets.
Membership in international economic organisations like the WTO, along with fully fledged membership in the EU, makes Lithuania a part of global economic processes.
Ensuring democracy, human rights, peace and stability
Lithuania, as a new member of the European Union and NATO, strongly supports effective multilateralism. Participating in over 60 international organisations, it pays special attention to joint actions with the United Nations and its specialised agencies, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, and other international organisations. Lithuania aims to enhance stability and security, to support the protection of human rights and democracy regionally and worldwide. It is working on the transformation of already established good neighbourly relations into broader regional solidarity and cooperation.
Since its early membership in international organisations, Lithuania has willingly joined the peacekeeping operations of the United Nations and other international missions and is strongly determined to take an active part in sustainable development, and to fight against international crime and terrorism.
Since 2003, Lithuania has enjoyed a new status as a donor country and is now ready to fulfil its international obligations by assisting the Kaliningrad region, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, the states of the South Caucasus, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Lithuania in the UNESCO: an active player
In 2005, Lithuania has been elected for the second time running to the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for the term of 2005-2009. Our country is committed to be an active player in the implementation of the UNESCO’s mission and in “building the world founded on solidarity and dignity”. Lithuania strongly supports the top priority of the organization – the Education for All programme and it’s Global Action Plan for achieving the EFA goals by the year 2015. We remain devoted advocates of the Dialogue among Civilizations program, as we do believe that the call for dialogue and mutual respect is crucial for the world in the XXI century. Lithuania believes that safeguarding of intangible and tangible heritage, promotion of cultural diversity and arts education are of great significance and largely contribute to fostering of inter-cultural understanding and respect of otherness.
Lithuania in ECOSOC: responding to the needs of developing nations
Lithuania attaches great importance to the activities of the Economic and Social Council and is committed to the efficient functioning and further strengthening the role of this body. Lithuania is convinced that ECOSOC has a crucial role to play in reaching internationally agreed development goals, including those enshrined in the UN Millennium Declaration.
The Government of Lithuania is a member of the ECOSOC from the Group of Eastern European States for the period of 2005–2007. Furthermore Permanent Representative of the Republic of Lithuania to the United Nations H.E. Dalius Čekuolis has been elected as Vice-president of the Economic and Social Council for the year 2006.
Lithuania’s aim in ECOSOC is to share its rich and successful experience in state building and important skills that we acquired while carrying out radical economic and political reforms and promoting regional cooperation. We believe that our experience in promoting good governance, human rights and poverty eradication will be important to the work of the Economic and Social Council. As an emerging donor, Lithuania has committed herself to take part in the global fight against poverty, diseases and social exclusion and to contribute to peace, stability and economic prosperity in developing countries.