Thursday, July 5, Vilnius – President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with President Sergio Mattarella of Italy who paid an official visit to Lithuania. The heads of state discussed key matters of the EU relevant to Lithuania and Italy, security situation and cooperation in NATO as well as strengthening bilateral economic, scientific and cultural relations. The President of Italy is accompanied by his daughter Laura Mattarella.
At the meeting, the presidents underscored that it was necessary to stand united in dealing with the main EU and geopolitical challenges. Only working together, we can ensure security of Lithuanian, Italian and European people, stop the flows of illegal migration and ensure economic prosperity.
Italy is a founding member of the EU. The President of Italy firmly defends European values and cares about the future of Europe. Cooperation between Lithuania and Italy in the EU, especially in addressing migration challenges, was in the focus of the meeting.
According to Dalia Grybauskaitė, Lithuania understands the enormous burden of migration on Italy and its obligation to assist Italy in dealing with it. To that end, Lithuania and Italy jointly enhance the protection of external EU borders. Almost 200 Lithuanian officials have joined the European Border and Coast Guard Agency FRONTEX. A vessel and a helicopter sent by Lithuania contribute to the patrol. Our troops are also part of EU operation Sophia that fights illegal smuggling of people in the Mediterranean. We increase support to the countries of origin and transit of migrants and fulfill our international commitments: part of the refugees that arrive to Italy are relocated to Lithuania as providing refuge is an obligation under the international law.
The Presidents also discussed the priorities of the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) of the European Union. According to Dalia Grybauskaitė, the new MFF has to help address the challenges of all European states.
International security situation and cooperation in NATO was also in the focus. According to the President, collective defense is a joint commitment; therefore, Lithuania assists Italy in countering threats from the South and highly values Italian contribution to our regional security. Italian troops have repeatedly served in the Baltic Air Policing mission and will do it again in 2020. Italian troops are stationed in the multinational NATO battalion in Latvia. For its part, Lithuania contributes to the activities of the NATO Strategic Direction South Hub in Naples as it enhances the joint response of the Alliance to terrorism and helps ensuring stability in the EU’s southern neighborhood. Lithuanian and Italian troops serve in Afghanistan as well.
According to the President, Lithuania and Italy enjoy highly successful cooperation in all areas. Italy is the eighth largest trade partner of Lithuania while Lithuanian export to Italy has been growing for six consecutive years. Lithuanian food products - cheese, seafood products and drinks - are being sold in Italy. Cooperation in the areas of information technologies and life sciences have also a lot of potential. Each year, over 40 thousand Italian tourists visit Lithuania while Italy is a popular destination among Lithuanian students.
Close cultural ties that will be in the focus during this state visit deepen the friendship of Lithuanian and Italian people. The presidents are also the patrons of two exhibitions, dedicated to the Centennial of the Restoration of the State of Lithuania - “Renaissance and Baroque Florence” at the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania and “Masterpieces of the History of the Veneration of St. Casimir: Lithuania-Italy” at the Church Heritage Museum. They are the symbols of long-lasting bonds and traditions between Lithuania and Italy.
President Dalia Grybauskaitė bestowed a state award upon the President of Italy - Order of Vytautas the Great with the Golden Chain for special merits to the state of Lithuania. President Sergio Mattarella awarded President Dalia Grybauskaitė a Cordon and Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.
Official gifts were exchanged at the meeting. Dalia Grybauskaitė gave the President of Italy a stylized sculpture of Vytis and a photo album “Splendid Country”. The gift of Italian President was Murano glass sculpture in the colors of Italian flag “Il Tricolore”.
Last updated 2018.07.05 18:15Back