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Prime Minister: Lithuania and Greece are geographically remote, but their challenges today are common

Date

2021 07 15

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As part of the visit to Greece, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė has met with Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakas Mitsotakis and Speaker of the Parliament Constantin An. Tassoulu, and visited the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy, the Hellenic Coast Guard Operational Centre and the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre. The Head of the State Border Guard Service and other officials accompanying the Prime Minister have also had other meetings with their counterparts in Athens. 

‘I appreciate Prime Minister’s prompt response to Lithuania’s request for expertise in coping with illegal migration currently faced by Lithuania. Distant as our countries are geographically, some of their challenges today are, nevertheless, common.  Lithuania and Greece are countries at Eu’s external borders, and they are well aware of the importance of European solidarity and of the need for response to dangerous tensions emerging in our neighbourhood’, said the Prime Minister.

For many years now, Lithuania has been consistently making the case for tighter protection of EU’s external borders, including through common border surveillance standards developed at the EU level.

As regards the EU migration policy, Lithuania has always shown its solidarity. Lithuania’s border guards provided assistance to Greece and other countries, our country has also shown its responsiveness in relocating refugees from Italy and other EU countries.

The Prime Minister has noted that Lithuania’s requests for assistance are been heard in EU institutions. One example is Frontex’s decision this week to launch a Rapid Border intervention. Lithuania is only the second EU State after Greece to receive such a mission from Frontex.

‘We wish to have a smooth extradition of migrants, and we cooperate with the International Organization for Migration to that effect. We will definitely do our best to ensure minimum standards of temporary reception conditions and the required procedures’, noted the Prime Minister.

It has been agreed with Greece’s Prime Minister that the Lithuanian and Greek authorities will continue to cooperate closely in investigating the forced landing of the Ryanair aircraft which was en route from Athens to Vilnius.

It has been also agreed to step up the bilateral economic cooperation, focusing in particular on the most innovative business sectors, such as information and financial technologies, life sciences. A Lithuanian business mission to Greece has been scheduled for this October.  

The Prime Minister has expressed greetings to Greece celebrating its 200th anniversary of independence and invited the Prime Minister of Greece to visit Lithuania. The Prime Minister has kindly accepted the invitation. Next year, Lithuania and Greece will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations.