In the African Union-EU summit, Linkevičius stresses the importance of an equal partnership
On 29-30 November, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius attended the fifth African Union - European Union (AU-EU) summit in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast. The event brought together EU and African leaders to discuss the future direction for the strengthened continental cooperation, as well as issues related to peace and security, migration, economic development, mobilization of investments, etc. The leaders from the two continents focused on investing in young people.
The head of Lithuania’s diplomacy emphasized that the summit was an excellent opportunity to review and to strengthen the Africa-EU cooperation. According to Linkevičius, the goal is to build our mutually beneficial partnership based on common values, reciprocal respect, and responsibility.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister confirmed Lithuania’s commitment to contribute to global efforts to address security concerns in Africa and noted that the solidarity-based efforts on the part of the international community could be the only appropriate response to such closely interconnected challenges as terrorism, transnational organized crime, migration, and development.
Lithuania has significantly increased its contribution to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). In mid-October, a squad made up of 34 soldiers joined the five Lithuanian soldiers already serving in this West African country. Currently, this is Lithuania’s largest input into international missions. Lithuanian military forces have also participated in the two European Union naval force operations – the counter-piracy operation ATALANTA off the coast of Somalia and the Operation Sophia that has the aim of neutralising established refugee smuggling routes in the Mediterranean. In addition, the country contributes to the EU Military Training Mission in the Central African Republic (EUTM RCA) and to the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali).
Linkevičius emphasized that investing in young people was a prerequisite for a sustainable future, so we must find innovative and creative ways to ensure opportunities for millions of young people to get the right education and find their place in the labour market.
In the context of the European Agenda on Migration, Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry finances the implementation of Lithuania’s first bilateral development cooperation projects in the two countries of Sub-Saharan Africa – Mali and Nigeria.
The projects aim to strengthen skills of young people in the fields of information technology and agriculture.
The 4th EU-Africa summit took place in Brussels in 2014. In the summit, Lithuania was represented by the then Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius.
For more information about the summit, please read here.