President of the Republic of Lithuania

Lithuania and Iceland – a model of friendship and courage

2017-11-30

Thursday, November 30, Reykjavík – President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with President Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson of Iceland to discuss relations between Lithuania and Iceland in the areas of economics, business, science and culture as well as cooperation in NATO and deepening Nordic-Baltic relations.

Dalia Grybauskaitė also invited the President of Iceland to attend the events that mark the centennial of the restoration of the state of Lithuania next year. President Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson expressed gratitude for the invitation and promised to attend the celebration of 16 February 2018 with the First Lady of Iceland.

According to the President, Iceland that was the first country to recognize the re-established independence of Lithuania and to support us at the time when no other state had the courage to do it. Back then, Iceland demonstrated exceptional courage, determination and friendship with regard to Lithuania and it remains our close ally and partner.

At the meeting of the Presidents, Nordic-Baltic security state of affairs and defense enhancement were discussed. Although due to its size Iceland does not have its own army, it contributes to ensuring regional and Lithuanian security within its means. Next year, the experts from Iceland will join the multinational NATO battalion in Lithuania. Iceland is a founding member country of NATO.

The Presidents discussed Baltic-Nordic cooperation and matters of importance to entire Europe. With approaching withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, preservation of strong defense and trade relations with the U.K. is important for Iceland and Lithuania. Iceland’s high-principled policy led it to join EU sanctions against Russia. The Presidents reviewed bilateral cooperation in diplomacy as Lithuania issues Schengen visas on behalf of Iceland in Kaliningrad, Kazakhstan and in Chicago. 

The Presidents also focused on bilateral development of business and economic relations. Last year, the bilateral trade increased by almost 28 per cent. Lithuanian-made furniture, products of wood and plastic enjoy demand in Iceland; cooperation in IT and financial technologies also has a huge potential. Iceland that belongs to the European Economic Area (EEA) also assists Lithuania in improving its health care, environment protection and well-being of children from risk-families. In 2014-2017, the support for this purpose amounted to almost 1.7 million euros.

Lithuania and Iceland share deepening relations in science, culture and people-to people contacts. Universities of Vilnius and Iceland jointly implement a project supported by NATO on researching security developments in the region. Iceland hosts a united and strong Lithuanian community, which has a Sunday school and a Lithuanian choir. Each year, in commemoration of Iceland’s Independence Day, Lithuanian people express gratitude to Icelandic nation through a campaign “Thank You, Iceland!”. The President of Iceland has a personal interest in Lithuania as he wrote his thesis on the Baltic countries for his Ph.D.in history and has visited Vilnius.

This is the second visit of the President to Iceland. Dalia Grybausakitė was on a state visit to Iceland in 2011.

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2017.11.30 13:44

Back