World Tue, 16 Apr 2024 16:35:48 +0300 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Bulgaria and Romania joined the Schengen area Bulgaria and Romania joined the Schengen area

On 31 March, Bulgaria and Romania became Schengen members: the Schengen rules will apply in both Member States including on issuing Schengen visas and controls at the internal air and sea borders will be lifted.

The Commission strongly welcomes this achievement, which follows the historic Council decision of December 2023. The Schengen accession of these two Member States will make the common area more attractive by significantly expanding the world's largest common area without internal border controls.

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said: “Tomorrow marks an important day: Bulgaria and Romania join the Schengen family. I welcome the lifting of internal air and sea border checks. This is a great success for both countries. And a historic moment for the Schengen area - the largest area of free movement in the world. Together, we are building a stronger, more united Europe for all our citizens.”

Since last December, both Member States have taken all necessary measures to ensure a smooth application of the Schengen rules as from 31 March 2024. The Cooperation Frameworks launched earlier this March by the Commission together with Bulgaria and Romania build on the successful implementation of the pilot projects for fast asylum and return procedures. With these Cooperation Frameworks, Romania and Bulgaria will further contribute to strengthening the cooperation on border and migration, as well as to the joint European efforts to address EU security at external borders and migratory challenges.

Furthermore, a regional initiative on police cooperation was established between Member States along the Western Balkan and Eastern Mediterranean routes, including Bulgaria, Romania, Austria, Greece, Hungary and Slovakia. This will allow to address related challenges jointly and in a sustainable manner, including as regards cross-border crime.

Bulgaria and Romania have continuously demonstrated a high level of commitment in ensuring an adequate protection of the EU external borders and have constantly acted as key contributors to the internal security of the Schengen area.

Next steps

The Council will need to take a decision to establish a date for the lifting of checks at internal land borders between Bulgaria, Romania and the other Schengen countries. The Commission will continue to provide all necessary support to the Presidency of the Council to ensure that a decision on land borders can be taken in 2024.


Already in 2011, the Commission confirmed in the Schengen Evaluation reports that Bulgaria and Romania have met all requirements to be fully part of the Schengen area. The Commission has actively supported this process.

The Schengen area without control at its internal borders is one of EU citizens' most cherished achievements. What started as an intergovernmental project between five Member States in 1985 – Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Netherlands – has gradually expanded to become what is today the largest area of free movement in the world. Besides facilitating free movement of people without internal border controls, Schengen significantly benefits Europe's economy.

[email protected] (Raimund) World Tue, 16 Apr 2024 14:21:04 +0300
The President: Western military support is crucial for Ukraine’s victory The President: Western military support is crucial for Ukraine’s victory

President Gitanas Nausėda met on Thursday in Vilnius with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The two leaders discussed the situation on the frontline, the urgent need for military and financial assistance, and Lithuania’s bilateral support for Ukraine.

At the meeting, Gitanas Nausėda underlined that Lithuania, with up to 2% of its GDP for supporting Ukraine, is and will remain one of the staunchest supporters of the country.

“The future of the whole of Europe is being decided in Ukraine, and what that future will be depends on what we all do today. That is why Lithuania has and will continue to actively mobilize military and humanitarian support of international allies to Ukraine. Lithuania has been and will be with you until victory,” the President spoke.

Gitanas Nausėda emphasized that Lithuania will continue to support Ukraine’s fight against the aggressor by military means. According to the Head of State, this year alone Lithuania has already provided €80 million worth of military assistance to Ukraine, including €35 million to the Czech initiative to procure ammunition. Lithuania has supplied anti-drones, ammunition, military clothing, and in April and May, M113 armored personnel carriers, generators and logistical support will be shipped to Ukraine.

The Head of State underlined that Lithuania will continue to lead the international demining coalition and is ready to take an active part in Ukraine’s reconstruction projects.

According to President Gitanas Nausėda, Lithuanian businesses are particularly interested in cooperating with Ukraine in the production of drones and anti-drones and in other areas of defense industry.

“We cannot let the aggressor win. Ukraine will win and we will celebrate this victory together. This is the only scenario we are talking about here in Lithuania,” Gitanas Nausėda said.


[email protected] (Raimund) World Mon, 15 Apr 2024 10:29:53 +0300
The President chaired the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Vilnius The President chaired the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Vilnius

On Thursday, President Gitanas Nausėda chaired the plenary session of the ninth summit of the Three Seas Initiative (3SI) in Vilnius.

In his address, the President stressed that the current geopolitical situation has given the Three Seas Initiative the impetus to grow as a platform for regional cooperation. The Head of State underlined the need to improve transport links, diversify energy sources, and build resilient infrastructure. Gitanas Nausėda added that it is also important to bridge the infrastructure gaps between the EU Member States and the associated countries Ukraine and Moldova.

The President stressed the importance of continued support for Ukraine and the need to help it to defend itself against the aggressor by all means.

“Today, the countries of the Three Seas Initiative reaffirm their support for Ukraine, its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Together, we stand ready to play an important role in the reconstruction of Ukraine and to help it to build back even stronger and more resilient,” the Head of State underlined.

President Gitanas Nausėda pointed out that during the International Transport Forum held ahead of the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Lithuania, new members were invited to join the Common Interest Group for Ukraine. It is expected that this will lead to more productive cooperation and engagement of partners in the field of transport.

According to the President, supporting Ukraine’s integration into the European Union and NATO continues to be a political priority. The Lithuanian leader stressed that the Three Seas Initiative could make a significant contribution to the practical aspects of the EU enlargement process, helping to prepare for smoother integration.

“For the Three Seas region to be viable and growing, we need to offer practical solutions. Thanks to the Three Seas Initiative, we are putting greater emphasis on the region’s cyber resilience, the protection of critical infrastructure, and military mobility. Our ability to deliver results also relies on our productive work with our transatlantic partners,” the Lithuanian leader said.

Gitanas Nausėda highlighted that the Three Seas Initiative already brings together 13 states, 2 associated states, and 4 strategic partners.

“I am pleased that the fourth strategic partner, Japan, has joined the initiative here in Vilnius. Its participation will contribute to the objectives of the Initiative and will strengthen the region’s connections to global supply chains and the Indo-Pacific region,” the President said.

The Three Seas Initiative Summit adopted a joint declaration.


[email protected] (Raimund) World Fri, 12 Apr 2024 11:52:04 +0300
Three Seas Initiative Summit and Business Forum will be held in Lithuania Three Seas Initiative Summit and Business Forum will be held in Lithuania

On 11 April, President Gitanas Nausėda will receive ten foreign leaders in Vilnius for the Three Seas Initiative (3SI) Summit and Business Forum.

The Lithuanian leader will chair the plenary session of the Three Seas Initiative Summit, during which the Heads of State will adopt a joint declaration.

The Lithuanian presidency of the Three Seas Initiative is aiming to:

Strengthen cooperation between the countries of the region, as well as connectivity in the fields of energy, transport, and digitalization, with a view to achieving greater convergence among EU Member States.

Promote greater involvement of strategic partners and investments, in particular the transatlantic link between the United States of America and the 3SI region, as well as develop a broader coalition of like-minded countries.

Increase focus on strengthening infrastructure resilience and critical protection, including the importance of military mobility and cybersecurity.

Bring together the countries of the region and like-minded countries to step up and expand support for Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction, especially in the field of transport.

Mobilize 3SI support for associated countries, as well as other EU candidate countries, in order to enhance their infrastructural integration into the region and the EU, and in their EU accession negotiations.

The Three Seas Initiative brings together thirteen EU Member States between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas, namely, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Greece. The strategic partners are the USA, Germany, and the European Commission. A new strategic partner, Japan, is expected to join the initiative during the 3SI Summit in Lithuania.

The aim of the initiative is to foster accelerated development and convergence in the region by increasing the connectivity of the participating states in the areas of transport, energy, and digitalization, in particular on the North-South axis, and to reinforce the EU’s cohesion and the transatlantic ties between the EU and the US. Ukraine and Moldova are the associated participating states of the initiative.

At the 3SI Business Forum, President Gitanas Nausėda will take part in a high-level panel discussion on the importance of the Three Seas Initiative for regional resilience and security.

Ahead of the 3SI Summit, on 10 April, the President will participate in the Three Seas Initiative presidency events—the International Transport Forum (ITF) and the Baltic Sea Energy Security High-Level Meeting.

Information for the media:


[email protected] (Raimund) World Tue, 09 Apr 2024 10:04:02 +0300
The President will meet with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands The President will meet with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands

On Tuesday, 2 April, President Gitanas Nausėda will meet with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who will be paying a visit to Lithuania. The Lithuanian President and the Dutch Prime Minister will discuss defense and security, the strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank, support for Ukraine, and current EU issues.

Information for the media:

16:00 Arrival at the Presidential Palace (Presidential Courtyard)

16:07 Official photo and signing of the Guest Book (White Hall)

16:30 Meeting of the delegations (Negotiations Hall)

17:10 Press conference (White Hall)


[email protected] (Raimund) World Thu, 28 Mar 2024 15:52:02 +0200
The President received letters of credence from the ambassadors of Australia, Angola, and Burkina Faso The President received letters of credence from the ambassadors of Australia, Angola, and Burkina Faso

On Monday, President Gitanas Nausėda received letters of credence from Ambassador Benjamin Albert Hayes of Australia, Ambassador Manuel Pedro Chaves of Angola, and Ambassador Toro Justin Ouoro of Burkina Faso.

At the meeting with the Australian Ambassador accredited to Lithuania, the President underlined the growing and dynamic relations between Lithuania and Australia and stressed that Lithuania will further seek to deepen bilateral political, economic, and academic cooperation, including in the field of security. According to the Head of State, productive cooperation between Lithuania and Australia in industries such as lasers and life sciences has yielded positive results for both countries, which will serve as a solid basis for further boosting of trade and co-development of high-tech industries. The President also expressed his gratitude for Australia’s support for Ukraine and its firm stance on sanctions against Russia, urging Australia to consider long-term support for Ukraine.

In his meeting with the Angolan Ambassador, Gitanas Nausėda emphasized that Angola is a viable partner for bilateral cooperation in southern Africa. According to the Head of State, bilateral relations would be boosted by bilateral political consultations as well as business and people-to-people contacts. The President highlighted the prospects for economic cooperation in the fields of agriculture and food, information technology and cyber security. During the meeting, the Lithuanian leader stressed the consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine and urged Angola to support an international rules-based order.

At the meeting with the Ambassador of Burkina Faso, the President spoke about the potential for economic cooperation between Lithuania and Burkina Faso, particularly in the fields of agriculture and technology. According to the Head of State, a rapid growth in bilateral trade indicates positive trends. Gitanas Nausėda also touched upon the security situation in the Sahel region, highlighting the global consequences of Russia’s war and the importance of an international rules-based order.


[email protected] (Raimund) World Wed, 27 Mar 2024 12:34:38 +0200
Landsbergis meets Antony Blinken: “Transatlantic bond is a key factor in ensuring the safety of European people” Landsbergis meets Antony Blinken: “Transatlantic bond is a key factor in ensuring the safety of European people”

On March 25, Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabrielius Landsbergis, and counterparts from Latvia and Estonia met with the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“Transatlantic bond is a key factor in ensuring the European security and a rules-based international order. The long-term presence of the U.S. troops in Lithuania and the region is the strongest and irreplaceable deterrent. We are grateful for the U.S. battalion deployed in Lithuania and for investing in the development of common defence capabilities,” Landsbergis said at the meeting.

During a meeting with their U.S. counterpart, the Baltic Foreign Ministers discussed regional security issues, continuity of assistance to Ukraine and key objectives of the NATO summit in Washington, D.C.

“If we continue to draw red lines for ourselves rather than develop Ukraine’s victory plans, Russia and other autocratic countries will continue their aggression. Without the U.S. leadership, Ukraine will not be able to win this war,” Landsbergis said at the meeting with Blinken.

Landsbergis also met with the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell in Washington, D.C., and discussed cooperation between Lithuania and the U.S. on Indo-Pacific issues.

Foreign Landsbergis last visited Washington, D.C. and met with the U.S. Secretary of State Blinken a year ago – on March 6, 2023.


[email protected] (Raimund) World Tue, 26 Mar 2024 11:56:12 +0200
Lithuania Contributes EUR 35 Million to the Ukraine Munitions Initiative Lithuania Contributes EUR 35 Million to the Ukraine Munitions Initiative

On Wednesday, the Cabinet approved the allocation of EUR 35 million to contribute to a multilateral initiative launched by the Czech Republic on the procurement and transfer of ammunition to Ukraine.

"Ukraine has the will and the capacity to defend its and Europe's freedom, but faces a significant shortage of ammunition, which is why this initiative is so necessary. Lithuania, which supports all formats of assistance to Ukraine, will also contribute to this, so that Ukraine can effectively defend itself against Russian aggression," said Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė.

Under this initiative, countries participate in the joint procurement and transfer of ammunition to Ukraine, identifying potential ammunition stockpiles or sources of rapid production for acquisition.

Lithuania confirmed its participation in the initiative at the beginning of March, during the Prime Minister's talks with the Head of the Czech Government, Petr Pavel.


[email protected] (Raimund) World Thu, 21 Mar 2024 16:26:17 +0200
The President at the Summit for Democracy: We cannot allow Russia to weaken the foundations of democracy The President at the Summit for Democracy: We cannot allow Russia to weaken the foundations of democracy

On Wednesday, President Gitanas Nausėda participated remotely in the Summit for Democracy, where he stressed the duty of democracies to work together and consolidate their capacities in order to counter the growing pressure from Russia and other authoritarian countries.

In a discussion on the impact of new technologies and disinformation on democratic elections, the Lithuanian leader stressed that Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, now in its third year, is not confined to the battlefield, but is also spreading into the information space and across borders, making every supporter of Ukraine a potential target. This reflects Russia’s longstanding objective that has not changed for at least two decades—to weaken the foundations of democracy globally.

“Right now, we see a clear line separating the free world from those wishing to destroy it. Not only physical threats but also a stream of propaganda and misinformation is constantly seeking to get inside,” the President pointed out, stressing that almost every democratic society has recently been under pressure from technologically-enabled malicious cyber and information activities.

According to the Lithuanian leader, the strength of democracies has always rested on the ability of their citizens to participate in free and fair elections. However, the reliance of democratic institutions on the confidence shown by their citizens also leads to a certain fragility of each democratic system. This is something that not only Russia, but also many other authoritarian states or non-state actors are seeking to exploit.

“To erode this confidence is to undermine democracy. Or so many autocrats think, rushing to exploit our vulnerabilities,” said the President, pointing out that almost half of the world’s population will be voting in 2024, and many of these people will be the targets of disinformation and targeted manipulation.

“We need a strong global response. Democracies must work together to expose, counter, and ultimately defeat efforts to undermine the foundations of our free and open societies. Be it Russia, or any other actor—we cannot allow them to manipulate or, eventually, capture our institutions. We must strengthen our cybersecurity defenses and invest in technological solutions for countering disinformation,” the Head of State underlined.

According to Gitanas Nausėda, democracy, free and fair elections and trust in key institutions must be defended at all costs. This requires consolidating human and technical resources of democracies and strengthening the information resilience of societies.


[email protected] (Raimund) World Wed, 20 Mar 2024 17:23:46 +0200
Lithuania urged for more demining and training assistance for Ukraine at the 20th Ramstein format meeting Lithuania urged for more demining and training assistance for Ukraine at the 20th Ramstein format meeting

March 19, at the 20th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Germany the donors discussed the support to Ukraine in the Capability Coalitions form and activity of the Lithuania-led Demining Coalition which currently includes 22 countries.

Vaidotas Urbelis, Defence Policy Director at the Ministry of National Defence, underscored at the Ramstein format meeting that it was important to meet the needs Ukraine had communicated: increase training volumes and contribute to deliveries of critically needed demining equipment.

“Ukraine seriously needs military and humanitarian demining equipment, we also have to step up the scale of demining training. Even though intense specialist training is underway, the scale must go up. Ukraine severely needs this type of assistance and it is an important embodiment of our unwavering commitment to support Ukraine in the face of the Russian aggression,” V. Urbelis said urging the Allies.

The Allies were invited to contribute in delivering the critically needed demining equipment to Ukraine: with already possessed equipment or with financial contribution to the coalition fund for joint procurement.

Defence Policy Director Vaidotas Urbelis thanked partners in the Lithuanian-led coalition for joining the demining effort. In late March the Demining Coalition will take place in Vilnius.


[email protected] (Raimund) World Tue, 19 Mar 2024 19:39:25 +0200