The European Union (EU) is currently faced with pressure from populists, Russia and the ISIS group that aim to create the atmosphere of fear and chaos, says the European Commission's (EC) representative in Lithuania Arnoldas Pranckevičius.
Arnoldas Pranckevičius
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

In an interview to BNS, he said that the EU would have to step up its defense amid the new threats and the geopolitical situation.

"We live in the junction of various forces. Both pro-system and anti-system forces aim to torpedo the EU project and fracture our world of rules, predictability, openness and mutual trust. This is not only the goal of populist or xenophobic forces, this is also the goal pursued by Russia, as well as terrorists of the Islamic State group, although by way of other methods, who aim to bring more fear to European societies and force us to shut off, build walls and go back to the world of 1800s. Their activities are aimed at creating an atmosphere of destruction, chaos and fear, not at proposing an alternative," said Pranckevičius.

In his words, EU institutions currently talk a lot about the possibilities to strengthen the EU security and defense dimension, with "actual improvement in the area possible within the next few years."

In comment of the Brussels' warning for Lithuania in connection to the 2017 budget, Pranckevičius said that the EC stance should be viewed as "a friendly reminder that the next year's budget may fall short of the required criteria."

"This is not a verdict in any sense. Lithuania had an election and is in the process of forming a new government, the new Seimas is starting operations and the next year's budget will largely depend on the new government's performance and the budget amendments discussed by the Seimas. Speaking of any final conclusion is still too early," he added.

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