Lithuania will open the country’s embassy in Australia’s Canberra in July.
Based on the official 2016 census figures, over 16,000 people of Lithuanian descent reside in Australia. According to unofficial estimates by the Lithuanian community and the foreign ministry, the actual number could be over 50,000 people. Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said on Wednesday the embassy will “properly protect our country’s interests, develop political contacts, maintain relations with the diaspora, develop business relations, and provide consular services”.
Under the ministry’s proposal, the new embassy could also be accredited to New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Jakarta-based ASEAN secretariat. Currently, Lithuania is represented in Australia by its embassy in Japan.
“The Lithuanian community in Australia has on numerous times asked […] for representation to be able to preserve close ties with Lithuania and contribute more effectively to the realisation of Lithuania’s interests,” the ministry said, adding that the current consular missions can not deal with all the requests and incurs additional during expat voting. Almost 600 Lithuanian citizens voted in Australia last year, the ministry said.
The embassy will employ six people, and will cost 845,000 euros to open, and the funding will rise to 981,000 euros in 2021 and 2022.