Lithuania Geopolitics

By | December 22, 2021

Lithuania is the largest and most populous of the Baltic republics which became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. Vilnius’s foreign policy was founded on four pillars: relations with the Scandinavian and Baltic countries, with those of the Eastern Partnership, as well as with European Union and United States. In light of the recent crises in the Eastern European quadrant, Lithuanian foreign policy has become strongly linked to Atlanticism and the US. Since the first years following independence, the US has supported Vilnius in the field of political and economic reforms with aid for more than 100 million dollars. Since 1998 this relationship has then materialized into a partnership strategic between Washington and the three Baltic states. Today the Lithuanian base of Zokniai hosts several American fighters and serves as an outpost for the defense of the airspace of the entire region. Lithuania also has non-permanent member of the Security Council U n for the 2013-15 biennium. For Lithuania government and politics, please check

In 2004, Lithuania became a member of the European Union (Eu): the Vilnius goal of integrating with European countries was thus achieved, so much so that from 1 January 2015 the country became the nineteenth member of the eurozone. Still in the European context, Vilnius is a firm supporter of a common foreign and security policy that aims to guarantee the security of the states next to the Russian Federation and that also extends to energy security. Objectives reaffirmed during the rotating presidency of the EU Council that Vilnius assumed in the second half of 2013. The summit was held in Vilnius.which sanctioned the definitive break between Kiev and Brussels and which gave rise to the crisis in Ukraine. Two other important lines of foreign policy for Lithuania are represented by relations with Russia and Poland.

Relations between Vilnius and Moscow remain complex: moments of relaxation have been followed by recent tensions over the Ukrainian question and older ones over Russian energy supplies. Behind the customs diktats (since 2014 Moscow has blocked the import of food products from EU countries) there is also the tendency of the Kremlin to impose its own interests. An example is the 2006 crisis, when Russia decided to suspend direct oil supplies to the Mazeikiu complex in response to the Lithuanian decision to sell the plant to a Polish company. The question of Kaliningrad, the exclave, also complicates Russian-Lithuanian relationsRussian in Lithuanian territory. Vilnius then denounced several sabotage attempts by Russia during the construction of a cable for the transport of electricity between Sweden and Lithuania, to reduce the latter’s energy dependence on Moscow.

Another state with which Vilnius has important relations is Poland. Since 1994 and the signing of a bilateral friendship and cooperation treaty, Warsaw has become one of the country’s main partners. For this reason it has firmly supported the integration process in the Euro-Atlantic cooperation structures. In recent years, however, there have been several misunderstandings, the result of the Lithuanian failure to implement the provisions of the 1994 treaty, especially with regard to the planned infrastructural and energy investments. However, the inclusion in the government majority of the Lithuanian Poles’ Electoral Action (Llra), a party of the Polish minority, and the approval in May 2015 of a joint military force between Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, confirm the commonality of interests between Warsaw and Vilnius. There remains an ancient cultural distrust that pushes Lithuania to remove the memory of the common past in the Polish-Lithuanian Confederation (1569-1795).

Internally, Lithuania is a unicameral parliamentary republic. The parliament (Seimas) is made up of 141 members elected for four years. The president of the republic is directly elected by the citizens every five years and has an essentially ceremonial role. In May 2009, for the first time, a woman was elected president: Dalia Grybauskaitė, former deputy foreign minister. Grybauskaitė, re-elected in the presidential elections of May 2014, is an independent candidate who enjoys the support of the liberals of the Ts-Lkd(Tėvynės Sąjunga-Lietuvos Krikščionys Demokratai – Union of the Homeland-Lithuanian Christian Democrats). The premier, on the other hand, is the social democratic leader Algirdas Butkevičius, elected in the political consultations of October 2012, who leads a center-left coalition. The next parliamentary elections are scheduled for the end of 2016; the social democratic party L SDP (Lietuvos socialdemokratų partija) seems to be able to count on a fair advantage over the liberals at the moment.

Lithuania Geopolitics