Mr Jean-Pierre Jouyet in Vilnius
French Minister of State for European Affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet is paying an official visit to Lithuania. Since the famous remarks by the previous French President about the New Member States’ ‘lost opportunity to shut up’ the damage has never been mended yet.
There were few visits on the ministerial level since but this is the first official visit after the Presidential election in France.
Sarkozy victory was met with a big relief in Vilnius, since it is essential for Lithuania that Europe, and France, keep the trans Atlantic link alive. The latest Sarkozy holidays in the USA only confirmed this.
However, the President’s palace press office announced at the meeting President underlined that relations between Lithuania and France had always been intensive and friendly. “Our nations feel mutual sympathy, and Lithuanians are particularly interested in the French language and culture,” said the Lithuanian President.
Jean-Pierre Jouyet noted that France and its President Nicolas Sarkozy wanted to ensure a more intensive cooperation with the Central and Eastern European countries, especially with Lithuania as one of the region leaders and an expert of good neighbourhood. The French diplomat remembered the beginning of cooperation between Valdas Adamkus and Nicolas Sarkozy in June EU Summit and thanked Mr. Adamkus for his significant input in negotiations on the EU reform treaty. “I believe that an excellent start of joint work will grow into a close partnership in solving the EU issues and working together for the sake of the EU unity, solidarity and intensive and friendly relations with neighbours,” said Jean-Pierre Jouyet. He underlined that this was the reason why President Sarkozy asked him to visit Vilnius.
The Lithuanian President said that Lithuania hoped that France would pay bigger attention to the region and the EU neighbours in the East. “Our joint work for the sake of Europe was clearly visible in the last European Council Summit, therefore, I am convinced that Lithuania and France will continue their cooperation. I believe that France’s presidency to the EU in the second half of 2008 will largely contribute to the creation of economically strong and active Europe and effective European neighborhood policy. Today, Europe needs unity and solidarity especially in the energy policy, also, it needs to speak in one voice with Russia,” said Mr. Adamkus.
The French diplomat assured the Head of State that according to the new President of France there was no division between old or new EU member states – all members create one Europe. Therefore France was prepared to work for the sake of everybody. Speaking about relations between the EU and its external partners and neighbors, Jean-Pierre Jouyet underlined that France maintained an attitude that ‘external partners must treat all EU members equally.’
At the meeting, President Valdas Adamkus and Minister Jean-Pierre Jouyet also talked about the importance of improving bilateral economic relations, new energy projects in the region and cooperation in the area of nuclear energy, relations between the EU and Russia as well as other current issues of the EU agenda. Mr. Adamkus also noted that Lithuania together with Poland were organizing a summit on the European energetic security, therefore, France’s participation on the highest level was particularly important for the event and the whole region.
I would like to add that there is a significant link between the building of the Presidential palace in Vilnius and Paris. The Emperor Napoleon himself staid in the building for a week during his Eastern Campaign towards Russia.