President of the Republic of Lithuania

Dutch soldiers – a model of NATO unity and social solidarity

2017-08-11

Friday, 11 August, Rukla, Jonava District – President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte.  After the bilateral meeting, the President and the Prime Minister of the Netherlands visited Dutch soldiers serving at the NATO’s enhanced forward presence battalion.

Dalia Grybauskaitė underscored that the Netherlands, the second largest investor in Lithuania, currently was one of the main security partners as well.

Now, the German-led NATO enhanced forward presence battalion is the place of service for 250 Dutch soldiers who came to Lithuania along with infantry fighting vehicles, armored vehicles and other equipment.

According to the President, with geopolitical tension at the eastern border of the EU and NATO ongoing, with Russia’s preparations for the large-scale offensive military exercises Zapad 2017 that is hostile to the west, NATO battalions are an integral part of the regional defense and the best measure of deterrence. 

In the President’s view, the fact that nine countries had decided to send their troops to Lithuania and that soldiers from twenty countries are deployed in the entire region, demonstrate unwaverinig unity of NATO, resolve and readiness to counter any threat to the territory and the people of the Alliance.

The President also underscored that during six months alone NATO battalion had become an integral part of our national defense as well as gained high visibility in society due to its active social and charitable activities. Dutch soldiers have actively engaged themselves into the social campaign “For a Safe Lithuania” by giving the children from children’s care home a meaningful summer leisure-time, helping them to develop social skills and patriotism.

According to the President, this is an excellent example of NATO solidarity and partnership.

Dalia Grybauskaitė also presented measures taken for enhancing Lithuania’s defense – consistently increasing funding for defense, modernization of defense forces and equipment, established national Rapid Reaction Force and reintroduced military conscription. Lithuanian youth has been volunteering for continuous mandatory initial military service for the third consecutive year.

Bilateral relations, topical issues of the EU as well as cooperation among Baltic, Nordic and Benelux countries were also discussed at the meeting.

The Netherlands and Lithuania share active cooperation in the fields of economics and business.  The Netherlands is the seventh largest trade partner of Lithuania. The Ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam handle 20 per cent of the total cargo coming from the Port of Klaipėda. An active cooperation takes place in the field of LNG technologies – the LNG from Klaipėdos Nafta is distributed together with Dutch companies by road transport means and vessels; each year, a bilateral LNG Forum is held with the focus on LNG development.

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2017.08.11 13:53

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