TALLINN - On July 12, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip met with his Lithuanian counterpart Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, along with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and the Speaker of the Seimas, Irena Degutiene to discuss bilateral co-operation, economic and energy issues.
At the meeting, Ansip acknowledged the government, led by Kubilius, for their management of Lithuania during the economic crisis. “The developments in all three Baltic countries have been very similar during the economic crisis, and thanks to rapid responses, we have all been able to decisively cut costs in the government sector,” Ansip stated.
At the same time, the government leader stressed that Estonia did not simply make national budget cuts and initiate structural reforms in order to adopt the euro, but like Lithuania and Latvia, Estonia’s goal is to guarantee the sustainability of the country. “Of course, the euro is very important for Estonia, but a conservative fiscal policy is even more important,” Ansip said at his meeting with Kubilius.
Co-operation in the field of energy was also discussed at length. Ansip expressed his hope that Lithuania would become part of the Nord Pool Spot electricity market as of Jan. 1, 2011.
“Estonia is interested in the creation of a truly functioning electricity market in the Baltic countries, as part of a common Nordic electricity market,” he said.
The prime ministers also discussed the necessity of creating a digital EU domestic market, the lack of which, Ansip believes, prevents the strengthening of the EU’s competitiveness.
The importance of structural reforms was also under discussion at all the meetings. The need to increase the retirement age was discussed with Degutiene. “Increasing the retirement age is topical throughout Europe, and thanks to public support we were able to carry this out in Estonia,” Ansip noted. Degutiene expressed her hope that the draft legislation related to increasing the retirement age in Lithuania, which did not reach a final vote in the Seimas during the spring session, will be approved next autumn.
“Considering how quickly our average lifespan is increasing, it is fair to let people know as early as possible that they must plan on retiring when they are older than the previous retirement age,” Ansip said. “As national leaders, we are responsible for the future of our countries,” he stressed.
At the meeting with Grybauskaite, security policy was also discussed, in addition to economic and energy topics. Ansip also wished Grybauskaite luck following the completion of the first year of her term as president.
In the course of the visit, Ansip placed wreaths at the grave of Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas and at the foot of the memorial dedicated to those who have died for Lithuanian freedom.