Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis at the NB8 meeting: Lithuania will strive for a safer Nordic-Baltic region
On 21 December, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis participated in the remote Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8) Foreign Ministers’ meeting, which focused on the situation in Belarus, relations with China, topical items on the agendas of the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the rule of law in Europe.
The participants of the meeting also summarized the results of the NB8 cooperation, which has been coordinated by Finland this year. The priorities of Lithuania, which will take over the coordination of the NB8 cooperation from the beginning of 2022, were also presented.
“We will continue the work of previous NB8 coordinators, taking into account the important challenges faced by our region that are also related to the dynamics of international developments. We will strive for a safer and more resilient Nordic-Baltic region, accelerated transition to sustainable and green solutions, and increased regional integration. We will also seek to strengthen our region’s position as a socially sustainable society and a leader of democracy and human rights. By acting together as like-minded countries, we can achieve meaningful results and be an inspiration to others both locally and globally," said Landsbergis, who presented Lithuania's priorities.
Foreign Ministers agreed that current challenges facing both the neighbourhood of the Nordic-Baltic region and the world, required a unified response, which could only be achieved through unity and coordination of positions and actions at regional and international levels.
“Lukashenko's regime remains hostile and unpredictable. We must maintain our focus on the instrumentalization of migrants by the regime, growing repression and the deteriorating human rights situation in Belarus," said Landsbergis, who also highlighted the deepening military integration of Russia and Belarus that raised concerns, as well as Russia's military build-up along the eastern borders of Ukraine.
As regards China's continuing economic, political and diplomatic pressure against Lithuania, Landsbergis stressed the importance of unity and the EU's engagement in the protection of its members from such actions.
The NB8 is an informal, non-institutionalized regional co-operation format that includes Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden. Each year, one of the NB8 countries assumes the coordinator's role. The coordinating country manages meeting schedules, as well as hosts many meetings of different parties and levels within the format.