President Dalia Grybauskaitė

Helping Slovenia, we also help ourselves

2016-02-29

Monday, February 29, Ljubljana – President Dalia Grybauskaitė, currently on an official visit to Slovenia, met with President Borut Pahor of Slovenia. The meeting between the two Presidents focused on Europe’s migration crisis, which is not abating, and geopolitical security issues.

According to the Lithuanian President, as the EU is delaying the implementation of strategic decisions on managing the refugee crisis and individual countries are restoring their internal border controls, migration directions are becoming unpredictable. Lithuania and Slovenia are small countries at the external borders of the Schengen area and can therefore face similar challenges.

Today Slovenia is aready dealing with a huge influx of refugees. According to the Ministry of the Interior of Slovenia, 380 thousand people crossed the Slovenian border last year and more than 96 thousand people – during the first two months of this year alone.

Lithuania was the first to respond to Slovenia’s request for assistance and to send a group of police officers who are helping to maintain public order on the Slovenian–Croatian border. Later Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Slovakia, Latvia, France, and Bulgaria sent their assistance.

The Presidents emphasized the importance of European unity in the face of geopolitical challenges.

“Helping Slovenia, we are helping ourselves. Solidarity is our strength and that of all Europe in dealing with the most complex challenges. Cooperation in Slovenia is the best proof that European unity is working,” Dalia Grybauskaitė stressed.

 The Presidents also discussed security challenges to which solutions will be sought at the NATO summit in Warsaw. Emphasis was placed on the necessity to ensure the same defensibility of all the members of the Alliance, effective deterrence measures, increased presence of forces at the Eastern border of the Alliance, speedier decision-making in the event of threats, and support to NATO’s Open-Door policy. Lithuania and Slovenia back the aspirations of Macedonia, Bosnia, Georgia, and Ukraine for NATO integration.

Both countries unanimously support the creation of the EU’s energy union and a common interest to ensure the diversity of energy sources. Lithuania and Slovenia agree that the gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, planned for construction under the Baltic Sea, would contravene the principles of the EU’s energy union, distort fair competition in the European gas market and enable Gasprom to divide the unity of EU countries.

Dalia Grybauskaitė shared Lithuania’s experience in building an LNG terminal. The Klaipėda terminal, which became operational a year ago, has now gained strategic importance in the region. Slovenia supports the construction of a similar LNG terminal in Croatia, which will ensure energy security in the region and the diversity of gas supply sources.

The two Presidents also discussed prospects for economic cooperation. Slovenia, which has a small but dynamic economy, has been member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development since 2010. Lithuania exports laser technologies to Slovenia and is ready to increase meat exports as well as offer high quality food and agricultural products to this country.

Lithuania was the first to recognize Slovenia’s independence de jure twenty five years ago. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Lithuania and Slovenia. On this occasion, President Borut Pahor conferred the highest state award, the Order for Special Merits, on the Lithuanian President for Lithuania’s exceptional role in recognizing the independence of Slovenia.

Dalia Grybauskaitė confered the Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great on the Slovenian President for his personal merits to the development of bilateral relations and for enhancing political, economic, cultural, and social cooperation between the two nations.

The Lithuanian President will discuss prospects for bilateral cooperation during the meetings with Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar and Speaker of the National Assembly Milan Brglez. Dalia Grybauskaitė will open a photo exhibition by Vytautas Daraškevičius in the Ljubljana Town Hall as a dedication to the 25th anniversary of state relations between Lithuania and Slovenia.

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2016.02.29 16:30

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