C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 001026
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/05/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV EUN RS XG LH
SUBJECT: GAERC: LITHUANIA WANTS EASTERN PARTNERSHIP LAUNCH
DURING CZECH PRESIDENCY
REF: A. STATE 127023
Â¶B. VILNIUS 994
Classified By: Ambassador John A. Cloud for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
Â¶1. (C) Summary. Lithuania hopes the EU, following the GAERC
and the subsequent European Council meetings next week, will
endorse the launch of the Eastern Partnership, a multilateral
"platform" for EU 27 consultation and assistance with six
former Soviet states. The Lithuanians will also look for EU
support for the Swedlink electrical cable connecting Sweden
and Lithuania. On other GAERC agenda items, Lithuania
generally supports USG views, notably emphasizing the need
for both the Bosnians to meet 5 2 commitments and the Turks
to focus on judicial and political reform. End summary.
Â¶2. (C) Post discussed ref A points with the MFA's Head of
Common Foreign and Security Policy, Egidijus Navikas,
December 3. He said the Lithuanians will be using GAERC
mainly to finalize the agenda for the subsequent December
11-12 European Council meeting. There will two big ticket
items of interest, the Eastern Partnership and Energy/Climate
Change. Navikas also confirmed that PM-designate Kubilius
(note: or newly-confirmed PM, depending on how things
progress in Vilnius) will attend the European Council meeting
along with President Adamkus.
Â¶3. (C) Navikas described the Eastern Partnership as a
"platform" for consultation and assistance between the EU 27
and six neighboring countries -- Armenia, Azerbaijan,
Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. This platform
differs from the Stabilization and Cooperation Agreements
already in place between the EU and various non-members
because it will be multilateral in nature. All 27 EU members
plus the six will meet together. Lithuania's goal is to get
agreement to launch the Eastern Partnership at the Czech
Presidency Summit next spring. Belarus is included however
its status has not been finalized. Navikas predicted that
the EU would surprise President Lukashenka by inviting him to
the Summit but assign him observer status only.
Â¶4. (C) The Energy/Climate change issue is divvied into three
areas, Baltic interconnectivity, energy efficiency, and CO2
quotas. Navikas only addressed the first area. He said the
Lithuanians expect GAERC and Council support for the Swedlink
electrical connection to the Baltic States however they would
also like the EU's "implicit" endorsement of the cable going
to Lithuania specifically (and not to Latvia).
Â¶5. (C) Post discussed other GAERC agenda items with Navikas
and found the Lithuanians in general agreement with USG
policies. They still support EU accession for Turkey but
agree with Commission findings that the Turks need to focus
on judicial and political reforms. They share our concerns
with the situation in Bosnia and support the need for 5 2
commitments to be met.
Â¶6. (C) The Lithuanians want to keep all the Balkan countries
on an EU membership track and favor increasing EU public
diplomacy toward the region as a weapon to counter
"nationalist" sentiments. Navikas summarized the Lithuanian
position on WTO/Doha saying it supports opening up EU
agrarian sectors if other nations -- Brazil, China and India
-- open up their industrials sectors.
Â¶7. (C) Post discussed Pakistan with Navikas December 3 and
with other MFA officials on November 25 (ref B). They seem
open to taking a leadership role in future EU/Pakistan
affairs, especially given Lithuania's involvement in
Afghanistan through NATO, however it would be difficult this
year because they have no money to put behind it.
Â¶8. (C) Comment: the Lithuanians have been disappointed by
France's EU Presidency primarily because of the French push
for closer relations with Russia over Lithuanian and others'
objections. They are now focusing on the things they hope
will get done during the Czech Presidency. The Eastern
Partnership would be welcome because it would increase EU
engagement with fellow, former Soviet states, something the
Lithuanians have long sought.
Â¶9. (C) On energy issues, the GOL is looking for some kind of
sign from the Council that the EU supports its claim to be on
the receiving end of the Swedlink, as opposed to Latvia's.
We see this as symptomatic of the Baltic states' inability to
solve their energy problems collaboratively. End comment.