Lietuva in brief - 2009-07-23

  • 2009-07-23
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite extended congratulations to His Majesty Albert II, King of the Belgians, to mark the country's national holiday July 21. In her letter of congratulations, President Grybauskaite emphasized that Belgium had been among Lithuania's most important economic trading partners already at the beginning of the 20th century, writes news agency ELTA. "The people of Belgium had never recognized Lithuania's occupation in the period of great difficulty for my country," wrote President Grybauskaite. "Such solidarity based on common European values and moral principles is significant and may serve as an excellent historical example in these times of economic uncertainty for the European Union." Dalia Grybauskaite recalled with great warmth the openness and sincerity of the people of Belgium that she experienced when living in Brussels. She expressed wishes that Belgium would remain the center of European values and continue as a model of open society.

Defense chiefs from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were to meet in Riga July 21 to discuss the formation of the Baltic Battalion, which will operate in a standby capacity in the NATO Reaction Force in January-June 2010, reports new agency ELTA. The meeting takes place though after the Latvian defense minister already informed his colleagues last week that Latvia would not be able to offer its soldiers for the joint Baltic Battalion, or to meet its obligations due to its complicated economic situation. The defense chiefs are to assess the situation and agree on how to find a solution. The trilateral Baltic Battalion was established in September 2007, and consists of Latvian, Estonian, and Lithuanian military divisions. Each of the project's member states contributes an infantry company (about 120 soldiers) and provides logistical support to the battalion of around an 800 member strength.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite met on July 20 with EU ambassadors residing in Lithuania to discuss Lithuania's foreign policy priorities, future prospects for energy security, human rights guarantees in Lithuania, and other topical matters, reported news agency ELTA.
President Grybauskaite presented Lithuania's foreign policy priorities, underlining the importance of cooperation between the Baltic and Nordic countries and the necessity of strengthening their actions at the EU level. The President pointed out that the Neighborhood Policy, its development and implementation would continue to be among the main issues on Lithuania's foreign policy agenda, adding that there would be no changes in Lithuania's Euro-Atlantic commitments. Grybauskaite said that Lithuania would continue participating in peace and security missions in Afghanistan. Concerning energy policy priorities, she invited EU member states to participate in the new nuclear power plant construction project, either through investments or management.
Lithuania's economic situation and actions to be taken by the government to overcome the crisis were also discussed during the meeting. President Grybauskaite pointed out that Lithuania still had the capacity to deal with economic problems on its own, without the need to seek loans from the International Monetary Fund.