06 February, 2012
Andrew Duff attended the constitutive meeting of UEF Lithuania
On 3 February Mr Andrew Duff, the president of Union of European Federalists (UEF), attended the constitutive meeting of a branch of UEF in Lithuania. The meeting, which took place in the Lithuanian parliament, was widely covered by the national media and was attended by a large group of the organization’s founders, among which there are a number of MPs, academics and other well-known figures.

Speaking at the meeting Mr Duff said the blue European flag could be seen on the streets of Lithuania already in 1990. According to Mr Duff, the Lithuanian Independence movement was progressive and forward-looking from the very beginning.

“Europe is nearing its federal moment - the time to decide on whether it wishes to become more united or not.  The growth of the federal movement in Lithuania is therefore greatly to be welcomed”- he said.

The president of UEF also criticized the way the current euro crisis is being dealt with at the European level. “The new compact on fiscal discipline tackles only one side of the problem, namely the lack of fiscal discipline. But the current crisis cannot be solved without greater fiscal solidarity, which is not foreseen in the treaty”.

During the meeting Mr Petras Auštrevičius, a liberal MP, was elected as the new president of the organization. Mr Auštrevičius stressed that the European Union today faces very significant challenges. “We see very clearly today that the EU as a political-economic entity is still in the making. I have no doubt that closer integration in the EU is a wise decision and at the same time – one of the main goals which should be sought by Lithuania”, - he said.

The initiator of the movement in Lithuania, Mr Rokas Grajauskas, expressed his satisfaction that in a very short time it was possible to find so many pro-European people. On the other hand, the new organization has already been heavily criticized by the nationalist groups in the country. Mr Grajauskas nevertheless said he hopes the Lithuanian society will be resilient to superficial eurosceptic populism, which attempts to “frighten people that Europe will take away their identity, culture and customs”. “It is not a coincidence that in the opening part of our constitutive resolution we say that the European Union, on the contrary, is the guarantor of the cultural identity of European nations. The principle “united in diversity” is not only an empty slogan but a defining principle of European integration”, - he said.

The constitutive resolution, adopted during the meeting, outlines in detail the principles and values of UEF Lithuania, as well as its tenets in the institutional, economic and military areas. The resolution also addresses the current euro crisis and expresses the need for deeper economic-fiscal integration by creating collective euro bonds and increasing the autonomous EU budget. At the same time the resolution calls for the need to strenghten the common military capabilities of the EU, which would be employed to defend EU’s territory.

UEF Lithuania has already seen the support of politicians from different political factions. It will be the first such organization in the Baltic states.


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