By Petras Vaida
December 12, 2015
President Dalia Grybauskaite met with President Janos Ader of Hungary at the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Zokniai. The Presidents discussed military cooperation between Lithuania and Hungary, preparations for the NATO summit in Warsaw in 2016, and European energy security, reported BC press service of Lithuanian president.
The Presidents observed a fighter jet flyby performed by Hungarian deployment at the Baltic air policing mission and met with Lithuanian and Hungarian servicemen. Currently, the Baltic airspace is protected by four Hungarian fighter jets. The Lithuanian Air Force Base in Siauliai is home to 87 Hungarian servicemen. Hungary has also assigned its military officer to the NATO Force Integration Unit in Vilnius, and instructors from this country help train Lithuanian military pilots.
“Hungary is actively contributing to ensuring the security of Lithuania. With the increase in threats, it was among the first to send us a company of its troops, and today Hungarian fighter jets are protecting the Baltic airspace, which shows that our countries have a common understanding of NATO solidarity and the need for collective defense as well as share the same views on strategic issues,” the President said.
Dalia Grybauskaite emphasized that the geopolitical situation remains tense in our region, and the Alliance must move to the next security level and start implementing deterrence measures which will be set at the NATO summit in Warsaw in July 2016.
At next year’s summit, Lithuania will seek long-term deployment of allied forces and military equipment in our region, defense plans for the Baltic countries, which would be regularly updated and tested through exercises, as well as the speeding up of NATO response times.
Lithuania and Hungary also share a common objective to strengthen EU energy security. The two states strongly oppose intentions to build Nord Stream-2. According to the Lithuanian President, the gas pipeline favored by Gazprom would violate the principles of the EU’s energy union, increase the EU’s dependence on Russian gas and prevent the transit of gas via Ukraine, all of which threaten not only Ukraine’s but also the whole of Europe’s energy security.
The Presidents also discussed the migration crisis in Europe and bilateral relations between Lithuania and Hungary.
This is the first Hungarian air policing mission in the Baltic countries. Hungary intends to send its second deployment in 2019.
It is a tradition for the President of Hungary to visit Hungarian servicemen in foreign missions before Christmas.