Wednesday, October 10, Vilnius – President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex who arrived for an official visit to Lithuania.
The royal visit was timed for the centennial of Lithuania’s independence. The delivery of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards to young people who aim for personal development through volunteering, science, sports, and arts was yet another reason for the visit of the royal couple. Of the three Baltic States, the program is only available in Lithuania and was launched by Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh during their state visit in 2006.
Relations between Lithuania and the United Kingdom, threats emerging from the East and European security were discussed during the bilateral meeting.
The President highlighted that Lithuania and the United Kingdom share a firm commitment to democratic values, common understanding of the security situation, strong commitment to help those suffering aggression, and openness for creating general welfare.
According to the President, although the British people have voted for Brexit, the United Kingdom will always remain an important partner of Lithuania and the EU as well as an integral part of the Old Continent’s security architecture.
The role of the UK is crucial in fighting conventional and hybrid threats. The United Kingdom, which has repeatedly suffered from the cynical use of chemical weapons and radioactive substances in time of peace, together with Lithuania are among the most active advocates for Europe’s greater resilience against hybrid war. The European strategic communications force was set up through the efforts of both countries to counter lies and disinformation. British experts are also engaged in the activities of the regional cyber security center to be set up in Kaunas.
The UK troops contribute significantly to deterrence and defense in the Baltic States. The United Kingdom has assumed the responsibility to lead NATO’s forward presence in Estonia. The Baltic States together with the Netherlands have joined the UK Joint Expeditionary Force.
Increasingly stronger bilateral business relations, promotion of innovation and high technologies were discussed during the meeting. Biotechnologies, biomedicine, IT and FinTech sectors open many opportunities for cooperation. The United Kingdom is among Lithuania’s top ten trade partners and British companies have created over 20 thousand jobs in Lithuania. During the visit, the Countess of Wessex will meet with a delegation of Lithuanian businesswomen.
Lithuania and the United Kingdom enjoy special people-to people contacts. The country became home to many Lithuanians. The vibrant Lithuanian community in the UK actively contributes to delivering charity and social projects. The President expressed her strong belief that the interests of Lithuanians and other EU citizens would be protected during Brexit.
Bilateral cooperation in the area of culture was also addressed at the meeting. Prince Edward is patron of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, which is currently conducted by Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. The Baltic States took part in the London book fair earlier this year as guest exhibitors. Lithuania presented 240 pieces of literature by Lithuanian authors in English. An exhibition focusing on diplomatic relations between Lithuania and the UK during the inter-war period will be opened at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of the royal visit as a meaningful symbol of Lithuanian and British friendship.
Last updated 2018.10.10 17:54Back