German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Lithuania last week. This country always was a reliable partner. Germany supported Lithuania on its way to the European Union and NATO. According to DW, today Germany is Lithuania’s third-largest foreign investor, with 500 of its companies providing over 17,000 jobs. This summer, Continental, one of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers, started building a €95 million plant near Kaunas. It is set to create 1,000 new jobs. Defense cooperation is also strong: Lithuania buys German howitzers, armored vehicles and other military hardware.
The more so, Germany-led troops of the multinational NATO battalion thave been stationed here since 2017.
On the one hand, Lithuania realizes the Germany’s assistance amount and appreciates Germany’s efforts.
On the other hand, Germany and Lithuania, for example, evaluate differently the ways of interaction with Russia. If Germany manages to separate its economy from political issues, Lithuania as well as other Baltic States do not.
German successful business approach to its foreign policy let the country maintain smooth economic relations with gigantic Russia. At the same time, mutually beneficial economic and diplomatic relations do not prevent Germany to be a leading nation in the European Union and NATO. The diplomatic art also let Germany to balance its own interests and the interests of organizations the country participates in. Merkel and Putin periodically meet, discuss accrued problems. In contrast to such position, Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian leaders do not even accept the idea of negotiations, common programs or direct talks.
The most demonstrative case of differences in foreign policy is the attitude towards Nord Stream 2 project. Germany considers it purely business issue, the Baltic States name it political. It is absolutely evident, that Nord Stream 2 will be built despite of opposing by the Baltic leaders. Almost all interested and involved countries gave their permissions. And then what is the meaning of all verbal confrontation? Such useless activity makes the image of the Baltic States even worse. It underlines that they do not influence European politics even to a small extent. The more so, it does not help Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to cope with their economic problems and even makes them deeper.
Such tough political position has lead to breaking of established economic ties and excludes future common beneficial projects. Is it good for the countries of the Baltic region? And who will suffer more from such politics?
It is obvious, that Russia, being highly criticised for its politics in the international political arena, remains very powerful economic empire and the Baltic countries should not neglect it.