Social exclusion, emigration, a lack of confidence in one's country, corruption. These and other threats to national security were identified by presidential candidates during a debate held by the Lithuanian public television LRT and the Central Electoral Commission on Thursday.
Ingrida Šimonytė ir Saulius Skvernelis
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

MP Ingrida Simonyte, representing the opposition conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, also mentioned Russia among other external threats to Lithuania, stressing, however, that there are other risks.

"We have very clear external threats and we can speak here about that threat of Russia, I have in mind a physical threat for us as a state, as a territory. But there are also other threats related to the so-called soft processes, let's say, uncontrolled migration and spread of terrorism. There are all kinds of hybrid threats, often balancing on the verge of a traditional war," Simonyte said.

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, representing the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, mentioned external risks, cyber security, hybrid threats and corruption.

"Also intelligence activity of hostile foreign countries, spying, attempts to affect our certain officials, and to get information. Cyber attacks, corruption are one of the threats. (…) Socially-vulnerable people start losing faith in the state, thinking that somebody lives better elsewhere, that some external "savior" will come and help them to correct that," Skvernelis said.

MEP Valdemar Tomasevski, representing the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance, mentioned demographic and value-related problems in the country.

Social Democrat European commissioner Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis is convinced that social justice needs, first, to be ensured in Lithuania, without making the country "a training area for military conflicts."

Economist Gitanas Nauseda called for paying attention to the inclusion of people and increasing their alertness, fighting social exclusion. And MP Mindaugas Puidokas spoke of emigration, political corruption and poverty.

Philosopher Arvydas Juozaitis spoke of the importance to cherish the Lithuanian language. In his words, history shows that the State of Lithuania collapsed when it lost the Lithuanian language as the state's foundation.

MP Naglis Puteikis, meanwhile, criticized the country's obedience to Germany and France on the military security issue. In his words, nobody demands that Lithuania spent over 2 percent of its GDP on defense.

And MEP Valentinas Mazuronis mainly spoke about internal threats.

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