On 20 April, the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Arnoldas Pranckevičius took part in an informal video conference of European Affairs Ministers, which took stock of the COVID-19 EU coordination, assessed the state of play of EU-UK relations, discussed the rule-of-law developments in the EU, the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe, as well as the Enlargement and the Stabilisation and Association process.
As regards the COVID-19 EU coordination, Pranckevičius urged the EU to take more active actions to ensure the supply of vaccines, to seek to rapidly reach an agreement on digital green certificates and to strengthen a coordinated Europe-wide vaccination communication.
“The irregular supply poses the biggest challenge to a smooth vaccination process. Therefore, Lithuania particularly supports the effort to boost European vaccine manufacturing and is ready to contribute to the development of production itself. It is also important that the vaccine manufacturers comply with their contractual obligations. Special attention should be paid to speeding up the production of vaccines in which the EU has invested and to a coordinated and clear Europe-wide communication on vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). We welcome the approval of the Council mandate to negotiate the digital green certificate with the Parliament and we are looking forward to a rapid conclusion of the negotiations. We consistently emphasise that only certificates of vaccination with a vaccine authorised by the EMA should be recognised,” said the Foreign Vice-Minister.
Lithuania’s Foreign Vice-Minister also underlined the importance of EU solidarity and support to EU partners. “We welcome steps taken to ensure the delivery of EU vaccines to Western Balkans partners. This sends a very important message, when aiming to manage the pandemic beyond the EU. But, at the same time, we must facilitate access to the vaccine to EU partners both in the Eastern and Southern neighbourhood.
European Affairs Ministers also assessed the state of play of the EU-UK relationship. Pranckevičius noted that it was necessary to resolve the situation regarding the UK’s breach of the principle of non-discrimination among the EU member countries on fees for work visas. Citizens of five EU countries, including Lithuania, are not eligible for reduced fees. “We very much appreciate the European Commission’s efforts so far to ensure equal rights for all European citizens. Please maintain this item on the EU-UK agenda.”