The Seimas and the EU
Photo by Olga Posaškova, Office of the Seimas
Having performed an important role in Lithuania’s integration into the European Union, the Seimas is currently engaged in conducting parliamentary scrutiny of representation of Lithuania’s interests and ensuring that decisions adopted by the EU are in compliance with the principle of subsidiarity.
Relations between Lithuania and the European Community: Beginning
Political groups of the European Parliament established relations with the Lithuanian Parliament and its political groups following the adoption of the Act on the Re-establishment of the State of Lithuania by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania on 11 March 1990. In September 1990, a delegation of Members of the European Parliament visited Lithuania for the first time. After the tragic events of January 1991, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning the military aggression of the USSR in the Baltic States. At the request of the European Parliament, the Council of the European Community froze economic assistance to the Soviet Union. On 27 August 1991, immediately after the failed coup d'état in Moscow, the Republic of Lithuania was officially recognised by the European Community.
New opportunities opened up for official inter-parliamentary cooperation between Lithuania and the European Community. By its resolution of 6 February 1992, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania approved a list of members from various political groups to represent the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania at the European Parliament, which, under resolution of 14 April 1992, served as the basis for establishing an official delegation for relations with the European Parliament.
Lithuania’s aspirations for membership of the European Union
On 21–22 June 1993, the European Council in Copenhagen (Danish Presidency) decided that the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which had concluded the Europe (Association) Agreements, would be able to become members of the European Union (EU) in the future. The European Council also laid down the so-called Copenhagen criteria that candidate countries had to fulfil. Lithuania therefore needed to sign an Association Agreement with the EU as soon as possible.
The Europe (Association) Agreement was signed on 12 June 1995 recognising Lithuania’s ultimate objective to become a member of the EU. The Agreement enabled Lithuania to participate in the process of preparation for accession to the EU alongside other countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Moreover, this Agreement provided scope for submitting Lithuania’s official application for membership of the EU. On 7 December 1995, the Seimas adopted the Statement Concerning the Application of the Republic of Lithuania for Membership in the EU. The next day, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania submitted an official application for the EU membership.