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Lithuania And Latvia Are Connected Partners Bound By Common Interests

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: LTgov}

Lithuania

Vilnius – President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with the new President of Latvia, Raimonds Vējonis, who arrived in Lithuania on a working visit. This is one of his first foreign visits. The Presidents discussed prospects for strengthening bilateral and regional cooperation, the further development of joint energy and transport projects and the security issues of the Baltic region and the whole of Europe.

“Lithuania and Latvia are linked by strong political, economic and cultural ties. We are part of the same region and share many interests. Today we are facing the same challenges posed to our national security. We are stronger when we act together. Therefore, we will continue close cooperation in the areas of security and defence, economy and energy,” the President said.

According to the President, Latvia and Lithuania work successfully to defend their interests in NATO and the EU. The two countries are making a joint effort to increase security in the Baltic region – they contribute to implementing the Wales agreements as fast as possible, support a stronger role of NATO allies in the region and together pursue the development of joint military capacities.

Lithuania and Latvia both contribute in a major and consistent way to fighting more actively hostile propaganda directed against the West. According to the President, the Riga-based NATO Strategic Communications Centre offers a whole range of opportunities and measures for this purpose. It is important to use them effectively. Lithuania, too, participates in the activities of this centre. The President pointed out that the EU’s strategic communications plan, currently in the make, must be ambitious and adapted to the newly emerging threats.

The Presidents also discussed bilateral economic cooperation. Lithuanian businesses willingly invest in Latvia and vice versa. Latvia is Lithuania’s fourth biggest trade partner and second biggest export partner. The economies of the two countries, which are recovering faster and faster, provide an opportunity to further develop business relationships and trade.

The President highlighted the importance of implementing joint energy projects. A regional gas market, which will cover the three Baltic States, is currently being developed. This requires a contribution from all the Baltic States: Lithuania’s LNG terminal can successfully supply all the Baltic countries with gas, Latvia’s Incukalns is the only underground natural gas storage facility in the region, and a regional gas exchange where the Baltic businesses will be able to trade in gas is under development. The President underlined that the regional gas market would be created and bring benefit to every person in the Baltic States only when the EU’s third energy package was implemented in all of them.

The meeting also addressed the synchronization of Baltic electricity grids with Europe. This is among priority tasks. Connection to continental Europe will help incorporate transparent European standards and rules for managing the power system, restrict Russia’s influence in the electricity sector in our region, and reduce the price of electricity to consumers.

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[photo credits: “Trakai-Troki” by Julo – own work (photographic film). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Trakai-Troki.jpg#/media/File:Trakai-Troki.jpg]

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