Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania
Press Office
January 17, 2008

During a discussion ‘The Treaty of Lisbon: What’s Next?’ on 17 January, Undersecretary of Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Žygimantas Pavilionis indicated that the Treaty of Lisbon, which was signed in December 2007 by the heads of the European Union, would allow the EU to implement a more ambitious foreign policy.

During the event that was organised by the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the Seimas and the Representation of the European Commission, the Undersecretary of the Ministry stressed that Lithuania was interested in the active and effective EU foreign policy, based on common values and long term visions, and not on the narrow national interests.

‘The more united and the stronger is the EU, the better Lithuania’s interests will be represented in the world,’ said Undersecretary of the Ministry Ž.Pavilionis.

according to the diplomat, Lithuania’s interests in the area of the EU external relations are obvious: to increase security and stability in the neighbouring countries, to implement the ‘open door’ EU enlargement policy, to uphold the transatlantic relations, to encourage more openness in trade policy and solidarity in relations with Russia, as well as in settling the Kosovo status.

The Treaty foresees to establish the position of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, envisages creating the European External Action Service, and pays greater attention to cooperation in the area of defence. The Treaty will guarantee a smooth, more unified and also more effective EU external action.

Besides introducing novelties in the area of foreign policy, the Treaty of Lisbon embeds the basic principle to preserve the diversity of languages and cultures of each country. Implementing the Treaty, the European Parliament and national parliaments will obtain more power. The system of voting in Council of the European Union will be more representative of the EU Member States and their citizens’ attitudes towards the decisions to be made. The protection of the Fundamental Rights of the EU citizens will be improved and a clearer distribution of powers between the European Union and governmental institutions of the Member States will be established.

The Treaty foresees that decisions will be made at the EU level only in cases, when they are more effective than those made at the local and national level. New opportunities will appear to take a more reliable care of energy supplies and to stop the climate change. After the Treaty comes into effect, Europe will be able to combat terrorism and organized crime, as well as illegal migration and human trafficking more effectively. The EU Member States shall act jointly in a spirit of solidarity in the case of an energy crisis, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters or catastrophes.

The Treaty of Lisbon shall come into force on 1 January 2009, after the EU Member States ratify it. It is expected that the Seimas of Lithuania should ratify the Treaty in the beginning of May, 2008. The first and only Member State that has ratified the Treaty already is Hungary.