German President Joachim Gauck attends a meeting with Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid in Riga, Latvia, Feb. 9, 2017. German President Joachim Gauck on Thursday admitted the European Union (EU) is facing "problems with unity" and called for a "strong and united EU." (Xinhua/Janis)
RIGA, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- German President Joachim Gauck on Thursday admitted the European Union (EU) is facing "problems with unity" and called for a "strong and united EU."
In a meeting here with his Baltic counterparts, Gauck voiced concerns about EU citizens' critical attitudes, especially in regard to the Brexit referendum.
"We need a strong and united EU. We need a sustainable agreement on the EU's future," the German president said, adding that the bloc's member states have to be prepared for compromise.
Speaking at a joint news conference with the Baltic heads of state after his meeting with the presidents of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, Gauck said he understood the Baltic states' concerns about their security very well.
"Germany is and will remain on the Baltic states' side," the German president said, reiterating German solidarity with the Baltic states' efforts to boost their defense capabilities.
Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis underlined Germany is one of the Baltic states' key partners not only in business exchange, but also in security matters.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite also called attention to regional security issues and thanked Germany for its decision to become the framework country leading the multinational NATO battle group to be deployed in Lithuania.
Grybauskaite also expressed the necessity for unanimity on the EU's future and said that the Baltic states would therefore have to coordinate their position, including on Britain's planned exit from the bloc.
Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid said: "We can be proud of having a country like Germany in the Baltic Sea region,"adding the EU project has to be made stronger.
The presidents of the three Baltic states and Germany gathered in Riga on Thursday to discuss current affairs and future cooperation.