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Prime Minister discusses Lithuanian-Austrian cooperation and situation in Belarus

Date

2021 06 11

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In Vienna, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė has met with Federal Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, to discuss the bilateral relations, control of the pandemic, issues on the EU agenda, situation in Belarus and Russia, and the integration of the Western Balkans into the EU and the Eastern Partnership.

The Prime Ministers have noted the dynamic development of the bilateral relations, and the need to take the cooperation to the next level, particularly in the fields of economy and trade.

Speaking about the EU agenda, the Head of the Lithuanian Government has noted that the European Union has successfully passed the health crisis management examination.

‘Lithuania has already joined the EU digital COVID-19 certificate. It is now important to resume the free movement in the internal market. It is also critical to speed up vaccine sharing through the Team Europe approach. The Balkan and Eastern Partnership countries cannot be left out either’, the Prime Minister.

The Lithuanian Prime Minister has pointed out that the hijacking of a civilian aircraft flying from Athens to Vilnius has again confirmed that the Belarussian regime disregards international norms.

‘I appreciate Austria’s immediate response to this act of state-sponsored terrorism. The full fourth package of EU targeted sanctions now needs to be adopted as early as possible and the fifth package of such sanctions needs to be launched without delay. It is crucial to prevent Lukashenko's imagined impunity for repression against his people. The blatant torture and the growing number of political prisoners are of particular concern’, said Ingrida Šimonytė.

The Lithuanian Prime Minister has also pointed out that the regime has recently threatened to flood the EU with illegal migrants, and today the flows of illegal migration across the Lithuanian-Belarusian border have hit the historic highs.

According to Ingrida Šimonytė, in the light of the latest events, a greater EU solidarity is needed to address the issue of the unsafe Astravyets NPP. The Head of the Lithuanian Government has noted that there is no magic recipe for changing the situation in Russia and Belarus, but we must work together to curb the opportunities for these regimes to commit malicious acts, while at the same time supporting the Russian and Belarusian civil societies.

‘Europe needs to remain united and give a firm and consistent response to the aggressive actions of the Kremlin and Belarus’, said the Prime Minister.

The integration of the Western Balkan countries into the EU and the Eastern Partnership policy have also been touched upon in the meeting.

‘By accelerating the integration of the Western Balkans and pursuing the more ambitious goals of the Eastern Partnership, helping these countries to reform, we are building a stronger EU’, said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister has also met with President of the National Council Wolfgang Sobotka and the Lithuanian community in Austria.

The last visit of the Prime Minister of Lithuania to Austria took place back in 2007.