At the European Union’s General Affairs Council meeting in the evening of 18 July in Brussels, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis drew the attention of other EU foreign ministers to the actions of the Austrian authorities, as they hastily released former KGB officer Mikhail Golovatov.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister stressed that once the European arrest warrant was issued, each EU member state was required to execute it and surrender the detained person to the issuing EU member state. The Minister reminded other EU foreign ministers that cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity needed to be dealt with exceptional precision.
“This case has dealt a serious blow to the effective international cooperation between EU member states in criminal matters. It undermines European solidarity,” A.Ažubalis said.
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Discussions on this issue are planned to be extended at the Informal Meeting of Ministers and State Secretaries for European Affairs on 28-29 July in Sopot, Poland.
At the General Affairs Council meeting, Member of the European Commission responsible for Financial Programming and Budget Janusz Lewandowski presented the Commission’s proposal of 29 June 2011 for the EU’s next multiannual financial framework for 2014-2020.
Lithuania’s key priorities in the EU budget planning are: the EU’s cohesion policy that provides for an adequate structural support to Lithuania, ensuring equal direct payments to farmers in all EU member states, financing international energy projects that are important to Lithuania, and fulfilling the EU’s continuing financial obligations related to the Ignalina nuclear power plant and the Kaliningrad transit.
The Ministers also exchanged opinions on the ongoing reform of the European Court of Justice aiming at greater efficiency and discussed the follow-up activities after the European Council that took place on 23-24 June 2011. The Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union acquainted EU foreign ministers with the priorities of its EU Presidency.