Lithuanian Foreign Minister heads off to Iceland to discuss its EU bid

July 24, 2009 at 12:11 pm 3 comments

As the BNS informed Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas on 23 July will depart for Iceland, where he will voice Lithuania’s firm support to the country’s bid for EU accession and offer political and technical help for the impending preparations for joining the 27-strong bloc.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Rolandas Kacinskas said the minister will personally deliver a Seimas’ resolution, which was passed to express support to Iceland’s bid, and discuss how Lithuania can help Iceland amid its preparations.

“The meetings will focus on Iceland’s EU prospect amid the upcoming meeting of EU foreign ministers; Iceland’s application for EU membership will also be addressed. Lithuania is ready to provide political and technical support to Iceland,” Kacinskas on 23 July told BNS.

Usackas will depart for Reykjavik on 23 July evening, with core meetings scheduled on 24 July, including those with the Icelandic foreign minister and influential Members of Parliament.

The Seimas on Thursday adopted a resolution calling on parliaments and governments of EU member states to back Iceland’s EU bid by requesting that the European Commission (EC) by the end of 2009 offers its opinion on Iceland’s readiness for accession talks.

Usackas had earlier said that Lithuania will offer unconditional support to Iceland’s quest.

Political analysts say Iceland could join the bloc in three-four years time. The Nordic country’s EU prospects will be discussed early next week in the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) session.

Source BNS

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Entry filed under: Baltic States, Denmark, Estonia, EU, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Northern Europe, Politics, Scandinavia, Sweden. Tags: .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. observer  |  July 24, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    “”Lithuania is ready to provide political and technical support to Iceland,” ”

    Um, look, it’s a nice gesture and I don’t want to sound as if I’m being critical. But I do find this offer one that invites slight ridicule. Iceland has already for a very very long time been well integrated into the Western international political and economic space. Furthermore, it has long been a member of the European Economic Area, as well as the European Free Trade Area. It was a member of the Nordic Passport Union for decades and then went on to join Shengen at inception. In 2007/2008 it was ranked first in the United Nations Human Development Index. It has a strong reputation as an egalitarian state and furthermore, very strong “Western liberal values” as evidenced by their legislation for equal rights for same-sex couples and their selection of an openly gay prime minister ( this at a time when international observers are accusing Lithuania of taking illiberal backward steps with it’s limitations on discourse on homosexuality). Furthermore, with its long-time membership of the EEA and EFTA, it already has 2/3 of EU rules written into its legislation and, even with its current financial troubles, could be fast-tracked into the EU within 2 years according to this BBC article – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7860078.stm – (not the three to four years you quoted in your post).

    So I’m not sure what purpose this announcement and this visit serves? Sure it’s important to maintain good ties with a friendly country, and sure if we were talking about Ukraine or Georgia’s accession into the EU, then Lithuania’s assistance would be immensely valuable, but in this instance, it just seems like a publicity stunt with no real substantive purpose behind it.

    Reply
  • 2. Ruslanas Iržikevičius  |  July 27, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Dear Observer,

    I take your point that Iceland is well far ahead of Lithuania in many areas. That is unquestionably true. However, if Iceland’s citizens will express their wish to join the EU during referendum it will need all support by the EU Member States to join the EU on ‘faster track’.

    As you might be aware the Southern EU Member States are not too keen for Iceland’s ‘preferential treatment’ over Croatia’s negotiations, even though I say this is a wrong definition. As the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt said “There is no fast-track for Iceland but rather a shorter track because they are already a part of the single market and the Schengen area [the EU's passport-free travel zone].” http://euobserver.com/9/28495

    I agree that it sounds perhaps slightly too upper lip, but Lithuania will do its utmost to facilitate Iceland’s quicker membership into the EU. As Minister of Foreign Affairs stated: we will support Iceland’s EU membership ‘unconditionally’. Iceland is a very very special country for Lithuanians. Lithuania owns Iceland one!

    My best regards,

    Reply
  • [...] Islandijos narystes ES rėmėjos vaidmens, neriasi iš kailio, kad tai parodytų, jos užsienio reikalų ministras pirmasis viešėjo Islandijoje su žinia, kad jie remia Islandijos narystę. Ta šalis žinoma yra [...]

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