German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will visit Lithuania today at the invitation of Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda. The two leaders are
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will visit Lithuania today at the invitation of Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda.
The two leaders are expected to discuss security issues, including the possibility of increasing the presence of German troops in Lithuania. Germany currently leads the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group in Lithuania, and the discussions come as NATO considers further expanding its Baltic presence. This meeting precedes a NATO leaders’ summit later in June and follows Swedish and Finnish applications to join the alliance. The Baltic states have all expressed greater concerns about their security since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, fearing that they may be next.
Expect that Scholz and Nauseda’s meeting will lead to a German commitment for more troops in the Battle Group in Lithuania and thereby lay the groundwork for expanding the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence. In the medium run, Germany will also likely pursue greater energy decoupling from Russia in line with NATO’s larger approach. In the long run, given the current threat atmosphere and the state of the war in Ukraine, NATO leaders are also likely to build on the German commitment and vote to upgrade the battalion-size battle groups to brigade-size.
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