Lithuanian EC member applauds PM's position on dialogue with Russia

Vytenis Andriukaitis

European Commissioner Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis of Lithuania has expressed support to the position stated by Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis on the need to resume the political contacts with Russia, following the example of other European Union (EU) nations and institutions.

In an interview broadcast on Sunday, Andriukaitis stated that EU countries had agreed about the possibility of cooperation with Moscow in some fields, regardless of the sanctions brought against Russia over its intervention in Ukraine.

"I can provide you with a scores of examples of how member-states cooperate in the fields that in the framework of the European Council. The commission does the same. Why can't Lithuania follow suit? Why is it possible for Germany, Finland and Belgium but not for Lithuania?," the EC member in charge of health matters told LNK commercial television.

"Finally Skvernelis was probably advised by someone that the time had come to start thinking," the Social Democratic politician said.

Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Lithuania has held no high-level meetings with Russian officials. Neighbouring Latvia, Estonia and Poland maintain contacts with Russia at the level of ministers or deputy ministers. Major European countries communicate with Moscow at the top level of presidents and prime ministers.

Lithuania's calls for Moscow's isolation were based on a position that returning to "business as usual" in relations with Russia would be regarded as making concession and would only encourage the Kremlin's aggressive policies. Those in support of dialog maintain that it is only through communication that potential major conflicts can be prevented.

Source: BNS
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