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Prime Minister: Norway is Lithuania’s important partner and European Union’s key value collaborator

Date

2020 09 08

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Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has met with Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway Erna Solberg to discuss the development of the bilateral relations, regional cooperation, collaboration in energy and economy and other issues of mutual relevance. 

The Prime Minister has emphasised the growing co-operation between Lithuania and Norway, as well as the Nordic-Baltic cooperation under the NB8 format.

‘Norway is Lithuania’s important partner and European Union’s key value collaborator in the EU’s common foreign and security policy. Lithuania highly appreciates Norway’s consistent support in international fora in managing the threats posed by the Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant’, said the Prime Minister.

As regards the security, the Head of the Lithuanian Government has thanked the Norwegian Prime Minister for the troops who were among the first to join the NATO’s Forward Presence Battalion in Lithuania. as well as for regular patrol in the Baltic Air Policing Mission. Norwegian-made air defence systems NASAMS are among the key modernisation projects of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Lithuania and Norway are responsible for the control of NATO’s external border, therefore it has been agreed to step up the mutual cooperation in this field. Efforts will continue to ensure peace and security in the Baltic Sea Region and the Arctic.

The Prime Minister has introduced the economic opportunities of the country to the Prime Minister of Norway, as Lithuania currently enjoys the 11th position in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Lithuania and Norway can boast some of the best economic indicators in Europe, and Norwegian businesses have been invited to invest in Lithuania. The Head of Government has also pointed out the benefits of strengthening cooperation in the field of life sciences.

The meeting agenda has also included the issue of EU climate plans. It has been agreed to strengthen the partnership on renewable energy and the environment.

Norway is one of Lithuania’s most important energy security partners. I t is also a reliable collaborator in the natural gas sector. As much as 80 percent of gas has reached our country from Norway this year. Lithuania has put forward an idea of opening a sea ferry line between Oslo and Klaipėda.

Human bridges between Lithuania and Norway have been built by tens of thousands of Lithuanians, for whom Norway has become a second home. Since last year, more people have been immigrating and returning to Lithuania than emigrating from it. Lithuania is grateful to the Norwegian Government for its support and attention to our compatriots. There has been marked progress in cooperation regarding the protection of children’s rights following Norway’s ratification of the Hague Convention. However, there are still unresolved cases, which call for the attention from the authorities, taking into account the arguments and legitimate expectations of the Lithuanian citizens.

Belarus has been another item on the agenda. According to Skvernelis, the claims of the leadership of the neighbouring country about the alleged military activity of NATO are unfounded.  The people of Belarus have been subjected to violence, massive human rights abuses and falsifications of election results. According to the Prime Minister, 30 years ago, Norway and other democracies helped the world hear the voice of our freedom, so today we feel obliged to support the aspirations of the people of Belarus to decide democratically on the future of their country.