New appointments in the Baltics

  • 2001-11-01
Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus accepted credentials from Michael Schwarzin-ger, Austria's new ambassador to Lithuania, on Oct. 17. At a ceremony at the presidential office, Schwarzinger congratulated Lithuania on its success in membership negotiations with the EU and said his country was expecting to receive Lithuania as a new member of the European family .

Schwarzinger said he was not planning to pursue his predecessor Florian Haug's ambition to hold regular Viennese balls for charity in Vilnius. Haug's first attempt to host a traditional Viennese ball for charity met protests from eccentric politician Vytautas Sustauskas and his "beggars," who claimed to speak for the poor.

Schwarzinger said he was not in any way disappointed by the reaction to this Austrian tradition. Lithuania has a rich and interesting culture of its own, he said, adding that Haug had not sought to change Lithuanian culture, merely to introduce a new element.

Prime ministerial press representative Nemira Pumprickaite said the new ambassador told Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas "that opportunities for Austrian investment in Lithuania were far from exhausted." Only 0.2 percent of Austria's foreign investment goes to the Baltic states.

Lithuania's Finance Minister Dalia Grybauskaite will seek to remedy that state of affairs when she leads a delegation to a conference entitled "The Baltic States, Austria and EU Expansion" in Vienna in November.

Austria's President Thom Klestil and a delegation of Austrian business people are expected in Lithuania in the first half of next year.

Schwarzinger, 46, has worked at the Austrian embassies in Bern and Bucharest and at the legation in Brussels.

Adamkus also accepted credentials from Eva Janson, the new Danish ambassador to Lithuania, on Oct. 17. Janson said her country consistently supported Lithuania's objectives to join NATO and the European Union. She said accession by the three Baltic states to those organizations would increase security and prosperity in the Baltic region and across Europe.

Adamkus said the second half of next year when Denmark will hold the presidency of the EU would be crucial for Lithuania. Lithuania plans to close negotiations with the EU on membership by the end of 2002.

Janson has worked at the Danish embassies in Belgium and the United States.