Monday, 5 June, Tallinn – President Dalia Grybauskaitė is on a state visit to Estonia where she met with President Kersti Kaljulaid. Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius, Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas and Vice-Minister of Defense Edvinas Kerza are members of the state delegation accompanying the President.
With Estonia taking over the Presidency of the Council of the EU, the two Presidents discussed EU agenda matters of importance to Lithuania and the entire Europe as well as the strengthening of the Baltic countries’ security; implementation of regional projects, and bilateral relations in economy and science. During her state visit, President Dalia Grybauskaitė will also meet with Speaker of the Estonian Parliament Eiki Nestor and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.
According to the President, Lithuania and Estonia are more than just neighbors. We are friends, partners and allies that have always supported one another in our fight for freedom, aspirations for EU and NATO membership, and in establishing advanced and successful states. Today we face the same threats; therefore, we consistently continue working together to enhance the security, energy independence and well-being of the Baltic countries.
Dalia Grybauskaitė expressed Lithuania’s confidence in the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU and support for its priorities. Focus on enhanced cooperation between the EU and NATO, further support for Ukraine, Georgia and other EU Eastern partners, the protection of EU citizens in Brexit negotiations, addressing migration related challenges, and strengthening the digital market of the EU are the aims of the Estonian Presidency, also of importance for Lithuania.
The strengthening of regional security was in the focus of the Presidents’ meeting. Lithuania and Estonia face the same security threats: continued aggressive militarization of the Kaliningrad region, the approaching military exercise Zapad directed against the West. We are also in the front line of the cyber and information attacks. Thus in the run-up to the next year’s NATO summit, it is necessary to join efforts for decisions to be made on the regional air defense of the Baltic states, continuous update of NATO defense plans with attributed concrete military capabilities, more rapid decision-making in the Alliance, and measures for precluding a possible military isolation of the Baltic states.
The President has also underscored that the unsafe nuclear power plant in Astravyets that is currently built 550 kilometers away from Tallinn is dangerous for the people of entire Europe. Estonia clearly understands the emerging threat and supports Lithuania’s stance in fighting against the unsafe construction of the nuclear power plant in Belarus.
The synchronization of the Baltic power grid with Western European network, which is of strategic importance to the entire region, was also discussed at the meeting. According to the President, integration into the reliable and modern power grid of continental Europe is the last immediate step in consolidating regional energy independence. It is necessary to reach the final agreement on the synchronization direction and to secure financial support for essential infrastructure from the EU’s next financial perspective. According to the study, carried out by the Joint Research Center of the European Commission, the most efficient and cost-effective synchronization direction is via Poland.
The EU’s support is also necessary for the Rail Baltica project. The European gauge track will connect the Baltic States, Poland and Finland. This will provide new business opportunities and convenience to passengers; therefore, the President pointed out, work should not be delayed. This is a precondition for the continuity of financial support from the EU. Last year, Lithuania built the track from the Polish border to Kaunas, and leads in the project implementation.
The Presidents also discussed energy cooperation. The Klaipėda LNG terminal helped all the Baltic countries to break away from their dependence on the Gazprom monopoly and reduce gas prices in the entire region.
The strengthening of bilateral relations was in the focus of the visit. Lithuania and Estonia, both of whom will mark the centenaries of their statehood next year, are close economic partners. Estonia is the sixth largest investor in Lithuania where it has created over 8000 jobs. Some 100 Lithuanian enterprises operate in Estonia, and both countries have untapped potential for cooperation in the areas of IT, financial technologies and life sciences. The agreement to be signed between Vytautas Magnus and Tallinn universities during the state visit could also contribute to the promotion of closer cooperation in research and development.
This is the first state visit to Estonia during the term of the newly elected President of Estonia. President Kersti Kaljulaid visited Lithuania a few weeks after her inauguration, in October 2016.
Last updated 2017.06.05 16:13Back