In the past Lithuania was an important crossroads between East and West as a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Empire. Today, Lithuania still benefits from the different cultural influences.
Lithuania is the largest and most populous of the three Baltic countries and today a fully democratic state, but it still has to bear the legacy of the Soviet Union: civil society is weak, the party landscape unstable and a quarter of the Lithuanian population, especially socially vulnerable groups such as single parents, pensioners or the unemployed, are threatened by poverty and social exclusion. Many well-educated young people are leaving the country and the necessary political reforms of the social, education and health care systems are only slowly being addressed.
Since 2017, international troops, including German soldiers, have been stationed in Lithuania in order to secure NATO's position to the east. In particular, the geographical location between Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad poses a challange and increases the state's security concerns. During the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine, Lithuania has shown great solidarity and has already welcomed many thousands of refugees.
In Lithuania, the FES has the aim of working with progressive actors to promote sustainable economic growth, social justice, sustainable and well-equipped welfare systems, and increased opportunities for democratic participation. Being an ally in the EU and NATO, the FES wants to support Lihuania in shaping the future direction of the organisations and representing Baltic interests.