21 April 2019

Interview Arvydas Pocius: EU countries are discussing about PESCO, but it should not be an alternative to NATO

Teodora Marinescu

EU member states have started to talk about PESCO and that it is necessary for consolidating security in Europe, but it should not be an alternative to NATO, stated, in an interview for MEDIAFAX and the Defence and Security Monitor, Lithuania’s ambassador, Arvydas Pocius.

Lithuania’s ambassador to Bucharest talked, in an interview for MEDIAFAX and the Defence and Security Monitor (DSM), about the future of the transatlantic relations given the security’s dynamic context and the new insecurity drivers in Europe.

“I think it is a good point for discussions, but it should not be an alternative to NATO. They need to find a way to work together. NATO and EU should work very closely together, not duplicate”, stated Lithuania’s ambassador.

Arvydas Pocius stated that European states should be ready to face the insecurity that could emerge due to radical nationalism or populism’s intensification in the Baltic Sea region.

We are presenting you the entire interview:

MEDIAFAX: What is the future of the transatlantic relations, given the security dynamic and the global policies’ changes?

Arvydas Pocius: Well, I can only talk from Lithuania’s perspective. When my country became a NATO member state, in 2004, the year Lithuania became also EU member states, it was probably the happiest and luckiest day ever, not just for me, but for the entire country. After 15 years of Soviet Union occupation, it was like a dream came true. Yes, we have declared our independency in 11th of March 1990, but for three more years we had Russian armies on our territories. Theoretically, we were an independent country, practically not.

When the Russian troops left, in 1993, we started to breath as a free nation. We understood then, that without the support of other Western countries is difficult to survive being the neighbor of such huge Eastern state. The strategic political goal was to become NATO and EU member. And that happened. Now being NATO and EU member state, we are getting only the best ideas on how we can adjust our country and have all the advantages. Only all together we can be really strong and we can go on.

MEDIAFAX: How the new drivers of insecurity in Europe, such as radical nationalism and growing populism, influence the Baltic Sea security?

Arvydas Pocius: This is something maybe not very important for our country. So far, we did not have such problems. It did happened more in the Western countries. We did not have terrorists’ attacks or big waves of refugees. However, we need to be ready, we need to discuss about this and share experiences with other countries.

MEDIAFAX: What role could Romania play as a pillar of stability in Eastern Europe and as a leverage in the transatlantic Alliance?

Arvydas Pocius: The EU member countries have started to discuss about PESCO, about what needs to be done to make Europe safer, not just for the NATO members, but the other countries as well. I think it is a good point for discussions, but it should not be an alternative to NATO. They need to find a way to work together. NATO and EU should work very close together, not duplicate.

On 11th of September, the European Union Council adopted a decision regarding the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), one month after they have received common notification from the member states about their will to participate. The 25 member states participating to PESCO are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden. On 13th of November, ministries from 23 member states have signed a common notification about the permanent structured cooperation and they have issued it to the High Representative and the Council. On 7th December 2017, Ireland and Portugal have also showed their intention to be part of PESCO.

Arvydas Pocius, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary ambassador of Republic of Lithuania to Romania, has participated at the security conference organized by the Defence Monitor, part of MEDIAFAX Group.

Defence and Security Monitor organized, Tuesday, the “Transatlantic security bridges over increasing security vision gaps- Romania’s perspective” conference”, among the guests being also security experts, high-level militaries and members of the intelligence services, like: American General Charles Wald, former Deputy Commander of U.S. European Command, Carol Rollie Flynn, associate professor of the National Security Program of the US Research Institute for Foreign Policy, Anthony Pfaff, research professor for the Military Profession and Ethic at the Strategic Studies (SSI), U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA, retired Army colonel and Foreign Area Officer (FAO) for the Middle East and North Africa, Hans-Lothar Domröse, Former Commander of Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum and Arnold Dupuy (senior analyst on Energetic Security for the US Defence Department).