President of the Republic of Lithuania

Lithuania and Italy face common European challenges

2019-03-29

Friday, March 29, Rome – President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with President Sergio Mattarella in Rome where she arrived on an official reciprocal visit at the invitation of the Italian President. 

During their meeting, the two Presidents discussed urgent European issues, emerging security threats and bilateral cooperation.

Both heads of state see the challenges faced by Europe and its future along the same lines. Europe can only be strong, effectively confront security threats and improve the welfare of all citizens if it stands united. The approaching EU parliamentary elections and the continuing Brexit process pose a serious challenge to the whole Community and emphasize the need for closer cooperation between member states.

Expanding economic contacts between Lithuania and Italy open new opportunities for both countries. The first Italian Business Forum – held in Vilnius this past autumn – set the guidelines for the further development of economic and trade cooperation. Motor vehicles and military equipment are key priority areas. The volume of bilateral trade is growing year on year. Italy ranks eighth on Lithuania’s list of trading partners.

Increasing tourism also adds to stronger national economies. Last year, tourists from Italy were among top ten largest groups of foreigners visiting Lithuania.  

Fascinating exhibitions of Italian masterpieces and artworks staged in Vilnius last year attracted huge public interest. They defined the scope and scale of a great culture and its traditions. Last May, President Dalia Grybauskaitė launched a cultural forum in Rome, which introduced well-known Lithuanian artists to the Italian public.

The opening of a new Lithuanian embassy building in Rome yesterday also testified to good mutual understanding that exists between the two countries. The ceremony was attended by Italian public figures who had contributed in a significant way to resolving the problem of Lithuania’s diplomatic premises.

Both Lithuania and Italy want to ensure good and secure life for their citizens. According to the President, effective military cooperation between the two countries not only enhances the security of Lithuania and the other Baltic States, but also strengthens NATO, which will be celebrating its 70th anniversary soon.

The Italian Air Force conducted two Baltic Air Policing missions in Šiauliai. There are plans for further rotations to patrol the Baltic skies. Italian troops took part in military exercises in Lithuania. They are also deployed to NATO’s forward presence in Latvia.

Lithuania and Italy agree that NATO’s readiness to respond to any threats is vitally important. An officer from Lithuania is currently stationed at the NATO Strategic Direction South Hub in Naples. Lithuania troops serve in missions and operations in Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan. Lithuanian soldiers are also engaged in the EU operation Sophia to fight illegal migration in the Mediterranean.

This was the third meeting between President Dalia Grybauskaitė and President Sergio Mattarella over the past three years. The President of Italy came to Lithuania for a state visit on July 5-6 last summer when the Lithuanian people were celebrating the centennial of national independence.

In Rome, President Dalia Grybauskaitė also met with Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati, President of the Italian Senate – the first Italian woman to hold this position. Elisabetta Casellati, a lawyer by profession, is a long-time member of the Italian Senate. She also served in the executive sector. 

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2019.03.29 14:46

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