Lithuania also in talks with US, French defense industry companies – minister

  • 2024-04-09
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuania is holding talks on potential investments with defense industry companies from the United States, France and other countries, apart from Germany's military industry giant Rheinmetall, Economy and Innovation Minister Ausrine Armonaite said on Tuesday. 

"(We are in talks with companies) from the United States, France and some other countries with strong defense and security industries," she told reporters when asked whether the government is negotiating with potential investors from other countries. 

Armonaite said that "certain agreements" with Rheinmetall on the construction of a 155 mm artillery ammunition plant in Lithuania are expected to be signed within the next two weeks.

"We are working with the company, we are in talks, and I believe that certain agreements will be signed within the next two weeks," she said.

The minister said that the deal will also outline Lithuania's role in Rheinmetall's project, but did not elaborate on whether the state could take a stake in the facility, how much it could invest in the project and where the factory would be built. 

"I cannot comment on the details, because not everything has been agreed yet. We do not comment until we have a deal," Armonaite said.

"We can talk not only about joint investments or support for the company but also about acquisitions. (...) I am certainly not authorized to comment on specific amounts at the moment," she added. 

Earlier on Tuesday, Armonaite presented to the parliament a package of legislative amendments to allow major Western arms and ammunition producers, including Rheinmetall, to set up their production facilities in Lithuania as quickly as possible.

The government proposes to set out a procedure for when the construction of large-scale defense projects could begin without the usual building permit. However, it would be mandatory to obtain the permit before the construction is completed.