Lithuania has said it supports the European Commission's proposal to set up a European border guard service but has reservations about granting it the right to act without the host nation's consent.
© Scanpix

"The security of the European Union's external borders is a very important issue for Lithuania. Therefore the European Commission's suggestion to set up a European Border and Coast Guard agency is very relevant and timely," President Dalia Grybauskaitė said on Wednesday. However, she added, "Lithuania's position is that decisions to deploy European border guards must be made with the member state's consent or invitation."

The EU said on Tuesday it was planning to set up a new agency to protect the union's external borders. The service would have a permanent reserve of 1,500 re-deployable border guards who could intervene even without the host nation's consent.

Lithuanian Minister of the Interior Saulius Skvernelis has also said that while the EU does need a European agency to better protect its borders, it must not violate member-states' sovereignty.

"We do need such a force, it must be mobile and efficient. We have a challenge to protect our external borders," Skvernelis said. "However, when using it, there must not be any violation of a member-state's sovereignty. In times of a crisis, there needs to be the country's invitation or consent."

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