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Prime Minister: Lithuania and Ireland have a very strong emotional connection

Date

2019 03 04

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1
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Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis met with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to discuss the development of the bilateral relations and future prospects for cooperation.

According to the Prime Minister, we are small EU countries with numerous but very energetic diasporas abroad.

‘Today, we are very happy with the close bilateral relations between Lithuania and Ireland. Economic cooperation has been taking momentum. We see the potential for taking it further in the fields of technology, life sciences, high technologies and fintech sectors. Our countries also have a connection through the numerous Lithuanian community in Ireland. I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of the Irish (not so numerous though) community in Lithuania to the cultural and economic life of Lithuania’, said Saulius Skvernelis.

The Prime Minister invited Irish companies to invest more in Lithuania. The Government is ready to make individualised offers for large investors. Air transport is of particular interest.

It was underlined that Europe was facing a challenging year in terms of the new political cycle, Brexit, the negotiations on the multiannual financial framework, while expressing strong belief in the future of the European Union, and the unity and shared values of its members. Prime Minister Skvernelis expressed solidarity and support for the current arrangement between Ireland and Northern Ireland, underlining that Lithuania understands and supports Ireland’s position on Brexit. The Good Friday Peace Agreement of 1998 and its observance is critical not only for Ireland but for the EU as a whole, Brexit cannot happen at the expense of Ireland.

It was emphasised that Lithuania understands the importance of peace in the region, giving much attention to the adherence to the principles of international law, sovereignty and territorial integrity of states. According to Skvernelis, a smooth UK withdrawal from the European Union is expected, but the Lithuanian Government is also preparing for a possible no-deal scenario. EU-NATO enhanced cooperation and EU Eastern Partnership policy were also among the items for discussion.

Lithuania has an interest in taking over the good Irish practice as to bringing back the diaspora scattered around the world, and thus the Irish Prime Minister shared his information in this regard. The Prime Minister thanked Mr Varadkar for Ireland’s consistent position on Lithuania’s occupation.

On behalf of the people of Lithuania, the Head of the Government congratulated Ireland on the centenary of its statehood and the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day, while taking the opportunity to invite the colleague to visit Lithuania.

Prime Minister Skvernelis began his visit to Dublin by stopping by at Hartstown Community School to meet with the management and students. He was accompanied by Irish Prime Minister Mr Varadkar. Ireland is renowned for its well-functioning and high quality education system. This school is one of the three Irish schools that have the Lithuanian language as a subject.  It should be noted that Ireland is currently the only country in the world apart from Lithuania, where Lithuanian is included in general education curriculum. The Lithuanian Government and the Lithuanian community in Ireland highly value this sincere concern and a very friendly gesture towards Lithuania. Saulius Skvernelis thanked the Irish Prime Minister, the Government, and the Headmaster of the school for the possibility of learning Lithuanian.

It has been the first visit by the Lithuanian Prime Minister to Ireland since 2007.