Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius: I am certain that Lithuania will keep up active dialogue with Austria


2016 12 05


In his meeting with outgoing Austria’s Ambassador to Lithuania Johann Spitzer,  Acting Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius expressed his conviction about further close ties between Lithuania and Austria, despite Austria’s decision to close its embassies in the Baltic countries.

“We hope that the political dialogue will continue at all levels. We regret your decision to close the Austrian Embassy in Vilnius and the other Baltic countries. This will reduce Austria’s abilities to follow the course of events in our region. However, we understand that the closure of the Embassy does not by far mean any change in our relations. Lithuania is interested in continuing the cooperation with Austria in trade, investment, culture, tourism and other areas.” said the Acting Prime Minister.

The Austrian Embassy in Vilnius was established back in 1997, and in 2015, the Austrian Government decided to close in 2016 all the embassies in the Baltic countries. Later, the closure of the Embassy in Tallinn was postponed in relation to the future Presidency of the European Union Council.

According to Algirdas Butkevičius, it would be appropriate to step up high-level exchanges. The need for closer bilateral ties is demonstrated by the 2015 Economic Cooperation Statistics. The bilateral trade has increased by more than 18 per cent, Austrian exports to Lithuania have gone up by 21.3 per cent, and those from Lithuania to Austria 6.8 per cent. Tourism grew by 12.1 per cent.

“We welcome Austrian investments in Lithuania. We very much appreciate the regional cooperation between Lithuania and the Land of Salzburg in the areas of economic cooperation, health care, culture and education. It is a successful example of European Union regional policy”, said the Acting Prime Minister.