Viewing cable 05VILNIUS153
Title: FRENCH FM IN VILNIUS: OPTIMISTIC FOR IMPROVED

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05VILNIUS1532005-02-15 16:32:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000153 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NB, EUR/ERA, EUR/WE 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/14/2014 
TAGS: PREL PGOV FR LH
SUBJECT: FRENCH FM IN VILNIUS: OPTIMISTIC FOR IMPROVED 
TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONS 
 
REF: STATE 24447 
 
Classified By: Pol/Econ Officer Christian Yarnell 
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
¶1. (C) SUMMARY: French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier, in 
Vilnius for consultations with Lithuania's political 
leadership two days after his meeting in Paris with Secretary 
Rice, spoke warmly of the Secretary's visit to Europe and 
publicly expressed optimism about the future of transatlantic 
relations.  On the U.S.-EU relationship, Barnier said, 
"America needs a stronger Europe."  Lithuanian leadership 
stressed with Barnier the importance of EU engagement in the 
Europe's New Neighborhood, but the French FM apparently did 
not endorse this as an EU priority, voicing concern about 
disturbing the EU-Russian relationship.  The GOL took heart 
in the FM's interest in the U.S.-EU relationship, but worry 
about his (and Europe's) "special treatment" of Russia.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
¶2. (C) French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier traveled to 
Vilnius February 10 for consultations with Lithuania's 
political leadership, including President Valdas Adamkus, 
Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas, Foreign Minister Antanas 
Valionis, and Speaker of Parliament Arturas Paulauskas. 
Neilas Tankevicius, from the Lithuanian MFA's European Union 
Department, was the Ministry's point man for the visit and 
provided us with a read-out February 11. 
 
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French FM Calls for Stronger Transatlantic Ties 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
¶3. (C) Barnier, according to Tankevicius, "warmly" described 
the Secretary Rice's visit to Europe and told the Lithuanians 
he appreciated the Secretary's "positive attitude" regarding 
the United States' relationship with Europe.  Barnier said 
publicly that he is "optimistic" about the future of 
transatlantic relations.  Privately, he told the Lithuanians 
that France hopes for increased transatlantic cooperation on 
a wide range of issues and believes Europe should play a 
larger role in Iraq. 
 
¶4. (C) Tankevicius said that Barnier's primary message on the 
U.S.-EU relationship was that "America needs a stronger 
Europe."  Barnier elaborated this theme during a speech at 
Vilnius University, remarking, "The United States needs a 
strong Europe for the fight against terrorism, to share 
responsibility for European peace and security, and to manage 
key elements of our political, economic, commercial, and 
environmental interdependence." 
 
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Lithuania's Pushes "New Neighborhood" 
------------------------------------- 
 
¶5. (C) GOL interlocutors emphasized, in conversations with 
Barnier, their commitment to democracy-building efforts in 
the former Soviet Union and their firm belief that the EU 
must actively support the region's integration with European 
institutions.  Barnier praised Lithuania as a key player in 
forming EU policy towards Russia and other countries of the 
former Soviet Union.  In response to Lithuania's expressions 
of interest in further developing European relationships with 
FSU countries, however, Barnier repeatedly questioned how 
such relationships would influence EU-Russia relations, and 
Tankevicius said the FM's tendency to view all such issues 
"through the Russian lens" perturbed Valionis and other GOL 
officials. 
 
---------------------------- 
French Active on Power Plant 
---------------------------- 
 
¶6. (C) Tankevicius told us that Barnier raised the issue of 
the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant and said the French remain 
"very active" in discussions concerning nuclear energy. 
Adamkus and Brazauskas, Tankevicius noted, gave Barnier 
positive signals about the prospects for construction of a 
new nuclear reactor to replace Lithuania's two Soviet-era 
reactors at Ignalina.  (One reactor went off-line at the end 
of 2004, while the other is scheduled for decommissioning in 
2009.) 
--------------------------------- 
Comment: A Window of Opportunity? 
--------------------------------- 
 
¶7. (C) French FM Barnier's positive remarks in Vilnius about 
the importance of the transatlantic relationship were 
consistent with his statements (reftel) during Secretary 
Rice's February 8 visit to Paris.  His remarks encouraged 
Lithuanian government officials, for whom maintaining and 
strengthening the transatlantic relationship is a primary 
foreign policy goal.  These officials would like to see in 
Barnier's remarks the opening of a "window of opportunity" 
for a transatlantic rapprochement. 
Kelly