IntroductionOn the 1st of May 2004, Lithuania will join the
European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) and thereby achieve the main goal of its foreign and
security policy since it gained independence in 1991. There had
been different options for Lithuania to choose its future
orientation concerning the foreign policy. It could have stayed
neutral (as it had done in the interwar period) or it could have
tried to build up an alliance between the Baltic states (Lithuania,
Latvia, Estonia). But the option Lithuania finally chose was the
aim of West-integration. This decision was of course a deliberate
one: Lithuania has always regarded itself as a part of Europe and
the Western culture. Thus, after having become independent, the
wish to join the most important and influential Western and
European organizations must be seen as natural (see Miniotait?
2001). At the same time, one has to realize the challenge which EU
and NATO enlargement cause for Lithuania's foreign and security
policy. On the one hand the country has to take its responsibility
as a full member of both organizations. That means for example that
Lithuania will be much more involved into international affairs (as
one example might serve the war on terrorism since the terrorist
attacks of September 11th).This article deals with another
dimension of challenge: Lithuania's bilateral relations. Especially
the relationship towards its neighborhood countries will experience
serious changes. With Lithuania going to be the Eastern border of
both alliances, its neighborhood relations will gain importance
both for Lithuania itself and for EU and NATO. Thus, the question
raised in this paper is: How do Lithuania's relations with Russia,
Belarus, Poland and the Baltic Sea states look like? Accordingly,
this article shall focus on the present appearance of these
relations. After this analysis some conclusions shall be drawn
concerning the future development of Lithuania's bilateral
relations out of consideration for the changes that will be caused
by EU and NATO enlargement.
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