There is broad agreement on the major lines of Lithuanian foreign policy, which is NATO membership, EU membership and other European structures, and a particularly close relationship with the United States. Lithuania is now a member of all the major Western cooperation institutions. In the spring of 2004, Lithuania joined both the EU and NATO. At the referendum on EU membership the previous year, over 90 percent had given their support. On December 21, 2007, Lithuania joined the Schengen cooperation. According to Countryaah data, the euro replaced the old Lithuanian currency as of January 1, 2015. The country joined the OECD on June 5, 2018.
Relations with Russia
Relations with Russia are strained, and Lithuania has assumed the role of driving within the EU for a restrictive line with neighboring countries. This is an important part of Lithuanian foreign policy.
Compared to Estonia and Latvia, the Russian minority in Lithuania is small. With only 6.3 percent, the Russians make up a significantly smaller group than in the two northern Baltic republics. Immigrated Russians from the Soviet era gained citizenship at the time of their release in 1991, unlike in Estonia and Latvia.
The withdrawal of Russian troops in the country from the Soviet era was an important issue in its time. The last Soviet soldiers left Lithuania in August 1993. In 2008, the National Assembly passed a law that paralleled, and banned, Nazi and Soviet symbolism. The Sejmas National Assembly reintroduced public service in 2015, citing the Ukraine crisis and the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.
An increasingly important issue for Lithuania, both domestic and foreign, is energy. Here, too, relations with Russia are central. Lithuania is still dependent on Russia in terms of oil and gas supplies. Following the closure of the last Ignalina reactor in 2009, this also applied to electricity. Lithuanian priorities are now to get an electricity bridge to Poland, cabling to Sweden under the Baltic Sea, as well as construction of a new nuclear power plant in Ignalina.
Relationship with Poland and Latvia
Relations with Poland are also strained at times. The right wing in both countries has history politics as one of its political pillars. How to write the story of the important cultural city of the time, Wilno (now Vilnius), which fell to Soviet Lithuania when the borders were moved after the Second World War, is central here. The same applies to the rights (including linguistic) of the ethnic Poles in Lithuania. In 1992, the two states signed an agreement on mutual guarantees for the rights of minorities in both countries, but there has been controversy over whether Lithuania complies with it. The existing border between the states was also recognized in the agreement. Contrary to the question of minority rights, there is no dispute about the border demarcation.
Relations with Latvia have generally been characterized by cooperation, although there have been disagreements over sea borders in connection with oil exploration in the Baltic Sea.
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According to thesciencetutor, Lithuania was among the nations that supported the US strategy during the Iraq conflict in 2003, together with the other Baltic states, Poland and the Czech Republic. Thus, Lithuania was a member of the “Coalition of Volunteers” who contributed militarily when the United States, without a Security Council decision, entered Iraq in 2003. The country thus opposed the Franco-German line in the Iraq issue. Similarly, Lithuania followed the US line in the open military conflict that erupted in Georgia in the summer of 2008 following a Georgian attack on separatist forces in South Ossetia and a subsequent Russian march. Also in the Ukraine conflict, Lithuania has emerged as a strong critic of Russian politics.