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Prime Minister: Baltic countries are the success story of the EU

Date

2019 12 09

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Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis took part at the Prime Ministers’ Council of the Baltic Council of Ministers held in Riga.  

The Head of Government has underscored that Lithuania attaches great importance to the ongoing close dialogue among the Baltic Prime Ministers, which is a prerequisite for the implementation of the joint projects and maximum efficiency of the common policies in the European Union, NATO and other international formats.  

According to Prime Minister Skvernelis, a significant Agreement on the Consular Assistance and Cooperation has been signed enabling diplomats to provide consular assistance to nationals of other Baltic states where the latter do not have access to the national embassy.

“The Rail Baltica project has two dimensions, the economic and the security one. The Lithuanian Government places strategic importance on the timely implementation of the project. We have implemented an important stage: the completion of land acquisition procedures across the Rail Baltica stretch from Kaunas to the border of Latvia; the construction work will be launched in 2021. The large-scale Rail Baltica construction works on the section to Kaunas Intermodal Terminal are currently drawing towards completion. That will allow the uninterrupted transportation of military cargo to the exercises to be held in our region. It is extremely important that the Baltic states, Poland and the European Commission work together on ensuring the proper financing for Rail Baltica in the future multiannual budget of the EU”, said Prime Minister Skvernelis.    

The Head of the Lithuanian Government has emphasised that Lithuania seeks to further develop the single market for natural gas in the region, given the strategic importance to the Baltic states and their consumers of the LNG terminal, which has been operating successfully in Klaipėda for 5 years already. According to Prime Minister Skvernelis, it is important that we promote the production of clean and sustainable energy in our electricity market and that third countries importing electricity comply with the highest environmental and nuclear safety standards.   

It has been stressed during the meeting that the Baltic states are like-minded regarding the EU’s multi-annual budget. The Baltic region has shown that cohesion policy plays a key role in ensuring economic convergence in the European Union. The Baltic region is a success story of the EU.    

The Prime Minister has said that Lithuania will not be able to accept a drastic cut in funding for cohesion policy and will demand a level playing field for the Lithuanian farmers in terms of payments. Special attention will also be paid to reinforcing the protection of the EU’s external border and financing of military mobility.  

Prime Minister Skvernelis has thanked Latvia for the work during its Presidency of the Baltic Council of Ministers and for the notable commemoration of the Baltic Way in Riga, and has wished success to Estonia, which is taking over the helm.

A meeting with Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki is to take place as well, where the Prime Ministers will exchange views on security and defence following the NATO Summit. The NATO Summit in London has confirmed that NATO is not only alive, but has become an even stronger and more consolidated organization. Lithuania and Poland are united on the assessment of military and hybrid threats, including the threat that the Astravyets NPP poses to the security of all the Baltic states.