President of the Republic of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus participated and made a speech in the second working session of the European Council.
Making his last visit to the European Council as the President, Mr. Adamkus expressed his great pleasure and honor to have had the opportunity to work together with other EU leaders for the benefit of Europe.
The President recalled he realised some ten years ago at the Helsinki European Council, when enlargement process was gaining momentum with Lithuania and other Central and Eastern European countries, that the European Union would definitely expand and that Lithuania's return to the European family would soon become a reality.
"That feeling and unyielding belief in our hearts was translated into existence: finally, we were building our Europe and our togetherness with no dividing lines between Old Europe and New Europe. Hence is my first wish: we have to continue walking down this path with our eyes set on the future, but conscious of historical memory. I say no, never again, to the artificial divisions once built by Communism and eventually torn down by the ordinary people in Berlin, Warsaw and Vilnius who had never lost courage or faltered in their belief," Mr. Adamkus said.
The President of Lithuania also recalled the dramatic days of the Orange Revolution that he spent in Kiev together with the then President of Poland and Mr. Javier Solana, who was attending this session today. The President noted that for Ukraine, it was not easy then and it is not easy now. However, according to the President, our neighbors - citizens in Kiev, Tbilisi and Minsk - are determined to overcome the still existing historical and geopolitical divisions. The President said he believed this should be seen as a common goal to be achieved by concrete and concerted efforts.
"I was thinking about it when I met with professors and students of the European Humanities University - a Belarusian university in exile based in Vilnius - an extraordinary occurrence in the academic world of the 21st century. We are strongly committed to expanding and deepening ties with our neighbors. It is in our great interest. The force of example, self-confidence, solidarity, and openness must remain at the very foundation of our strength," President Adamkus said.
Reflecting on the Treaty on the Functioning of the Union, the President recalled long discussions on this issue a couple of years ago in the Justus Lipsius building and the strong leadership of Angela Merkel. "I was convinced then as I am convinced today: we need an institutional settlement. We need it so that we can advance and concentrate on the pressing matters of the economy, finance and energy security. I am confident that our efforts to create a unified external energy policy, to strengthen the energy market and to press with the Baltic interconnections will continue," Mr. Adamkus underlined.
In today's economic situation, as the President put it, the euro serves as a strategic European project, and the euro zone enlargement, inseparable from maintaining sound economic policies, might sometimes be politically difficult, but missing a chance or lowering ambitions would exact an even higher toll. This, according to the President, applied both to Lithuania and Europe.
"Solutions based on compromise and solidarity will make the enlarged and unified Europe even stronger. This was the ultimate goal of the founding fathers of the European Communities who might have not anticipated the infinite force of their vision and ideals. Today we pursue the same aspirations, based on our strong belief in a Europe whole and free," President Adamkus said.
Concluding his speech, the Lithuanian President thanked his European colleagues for cooperation and friendship.
Today the European Council adopted Presidency Conclusions on the issues on the agenda. On the eve of the European Summit, the European leaders signed a memorandum on Baltic interconnection plan which was recognised by the European leaders as a particularly important contribution to strengthening energy security.
The EU leaders also discussed EU actions in the face of the economic crisis. They agreed to strengthen financial supervision and promote employment.
The European Council also agreed on guarantees to Ireland, by clarifying in more detail the scope of certain individual provisions of the Lisbon Treaty and their applicability to Ireland, in the hope this would dispel the concerns by the Irish people and would ultimately lead to ratification of the Treaty in Ireland.
The European Council took note of potential problems concerning gas supply from Russia via Ukraine and expressed a conviction that all parties would honor their commitments.
Lithuania has successfully insisted on the inclusion in the Conclusions of the commitment to continue the assessment of the crimes made by totalitarian regimes. Lithuania's Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius also delivered a speech in the session.