The President in Davos: Europe is coming back
Friday, January 26, Davos-Klosters, Switzerland - President Dalia Grybauskaitė was among the discussion leaders at the World Economic Forum's session "Central and Eastern Europe: A New Agenda for the Continent?" Also taking part in the discussion were Polish President Andrzej Duda and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
The President underlined that Europe was coming back with new leadership and new commitments to the future. In the face of global challenges, it is very much in the interest of smaller states to be part of a strong Community. Therefore, Lithuania and other countries of the region support closer integration in economic, cyber security and defense fields.
It is necessary to complete as soon as possible the EU energy union and digital single market. Brexit, military exercises on the EU's borders and the situation in Ukraine create an urgency to act and integrate.
The President pointed out that reinforcing defense was a key priority in our region – the eastern flank of NATO. The Zapad exercise has clearly demonstrated that we are facing not only military, but also hybrid threats. Ensuring cyber security is increasingly more important. Lithuania is very proactive in the EU and NATO in developing new solutions to ensure cyber security and preparing for the forthcoming NATO summit.
As she reviewed hybrid threats, the President emphasized that the unsafe Ostrovets nuclear power plant constructed by Russia on the EU's border could be used as an unconventional weapon, making energy union necessary for security reasons.
The EU energy union is also crucially important for securing the Community's energy independence. The President underlined that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was not economically viable. It was a geopolitical project aimed at reinstating Europe's dependency on Russian gas. Our region's experience shows that Russia uses gas as a tool of economic and political pressure. The Nord Stream 2 project carries a risk that the EU will return to energy dependence instead of searching for ways to further diversify its energy sources.
According to the President, the EU must seek consensus-based decisions to respond to emerging challenges. Mutual understanding and ability to agree in even the most difficult situations are at the core of Europe’s strength, which must be preserved.