“Team Lithuania” will be truly focused around our ambitious goals of economic diplomacy
On 10 February, the first meeting of the new leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with heads of Lithuania's diplomatic missions on economic diplomacy discussed economic activities carried out by the bilateral missions, priorities of economic diplomacy, measures, and the role of diplomacy in strengthening Lithuania’s economic competitiveness.
“After comparing economic indicators of countries of similar size in 2019 – export capacities, attracted foreign direct investment, and the number of international tourists – at first glance Lithuania seems to be doing well and is leading among the Baltic states. But if we pay careful attention to the data for other countries of similar size, such as Ireland, we see that Lithuania is really lagging behind in terms of exports and investment volumes,” said the Foreign Vice-Minister Egidijus Meilūnas.
According to the Foreign Vice-Minister, it is not a coincidence that the programme of the current Government focuses on economic diplomacy. Our export was the driving force behind Lithuania's economy even in times of crisis over last decade, figures show.
“In order to achieve ambitious goals, we will set more ambitious tasks for our representations in the field of economic diplomacy. Efficiency and effectiveness of economic activity will be one of the key evaluation criteria used in assessing activities of the diplomatic mission and its head, and a simple rule to decide whether Lithuania should have a diplomatic mission in that country or not," said the Foreign Vice-Minister.
The vision of the "Team Lithuania" was presented at the meeting. Representatives of various Lithuanian agencies working in a particular country will join efforts to increase exports of Lithuanian goods, to attract foreign investment and tourists, and to promote cooperation in the field of science and innovation. According to the Foreign Vice-Minister, the head of mission must actively engage not only in the implementation of tasks formulated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but also seek economic interests, take initiative, pro-actively looking for new niches and interests in the state represented.
In order for the "Team Lithuania" to work effectively overseas, we must continue to stay focused on strengthening our inter-institutional cooperation, first of all, with the Ministry of Economy and Innovation, a non-profit agency Enterprise Lithuania, Invest Lithuania, MITA, Lithuania Travel, and other agencies, as well as with business associations and companies.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will seek to ensure a well-functioning system of economic diplomacy in Lithuania, which would be a pillar of strength to help people working overseas. The Economic Diplomacy Council will also remain an important platform for mobilising and connecting all institutions. In the near future, the Council plans to present the concept of the “Team Lithuania”.