Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis met with Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas to discuss the development of the bilateral cooperation in the political, economic and other fields.
The Prime Minister noted the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way, where people showed that violence and forced policy were not acceptable in international relations. 23 August is marked in Europe as a day of remembrance for the victims of totalitarian regimes. It is imperative that the day is marked this year at EU level, thus condemning the 80th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
‘Lithuania and Estonia share common interests in the European Union, particularly in the field of the development of security and strategic infrastructure. Much as we have achieved, we still have to continue our efforts, particularly as regards the development of energy and transport interconnections, which remains a prerequisite for deeper integration of our region in Europe’, said Skvernelis.
It was emphasised that Lithuania supports Estonia’s aspiration to become a member of the UN Security Council and wishes all the success.
The Head of the Government pointed out that the efforts seen from the third countries to influence the implementation of the synchronisation and desynchronisation processes while trying to politicize them and thus involve the Baltic countries in the protracted debate. Therefore, the resistance of the Baltic States to the attempts to “divide and rule” is critical. According to the Prime Minister, an isolated operation test should be planned for all the three Baltic states.
It is particularly important to prevent the EU electricity market from trading in the electricity from third countries that is not produced in line with transparent competition conditions and international environmental and nuclear safety standards. Lithuania expects Estonia’s support in this regard.
It was emphasized that the Rail Baltica project would become an important part of the strategic infrastructure of the Baltic States, which is critical for economic and national security. Smooth cooperation between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as Poland is a key condition for the successful implementation of this project. Lithuania is fulfilling its obligations, the Rail Baltica, as a capital-connecting project, is highly regarded.
Lithuania supports the idea of a tunnel between Tallinn and Helsinki. This can offer new opportunities for increased competitiveness of the project and provide greater efficiency for the North Sea-Baltic Sea TEN-T corridor.
The development of energy dialogue with the US was also noted. Lithuania is interested in working closely with Estonia and Latvia in implementing US Energy Secretary Perry’s Transatlantic Energy Cooperation (P-TEC) initiative.
According to Skvernelis, although the populist forces will not prevail in European governance structures, the weaker results of the traditional parties in the European elections showed that citizens expect changes in the EU. Our priorities regarding the EU strategic agenda are the same.
The fundamental issues include the future financing of Cohesion and the Common Agricultural Policy. It is important to stand tall as regards securing funding for these areas. Equal competitive conditions in agriculture are indispensable, Lithuania will agree only to the total completion of the external convergence of direct payments. It is also very important to secure sufficient funding for Rail Baltica and electricity grid synchronization; for Lithuania, cyber security, external border protection and military mobility continue to be of relevance.
The Head of Government asked for active support from Estonia in the negotiations on the EU Mobility Package. The most pressing issues for Lithuanian and Estonian carriers is excessive truck returning process and keeping the possibility for a driver to stay overnight in the cabin.
On security, it was emphasised that further adaptation of NATO to the changing security environment should be pursued. It is important for the Baltic States to be identified as one of the most vulnerable regions, so that NATO would develop solutions to address this deficiency. The aim is to have permanent presence of US forces in the region as a significant deterrent. Lithuania also supports Poland’s initiative to deploy the US division-level headquarters on its territory.
Saulius Skvernelis wished the new Estonian Government all the best and thanked for the invitation to come to the Song Festival and the Global Forum for Digital Technologies.