Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis: Lithuania’s border with Belarus is also the EU’s external border, so together with the Czech Republic we aim to ensure its security
On 7 September, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis met with the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Jakub Kulhánek, who was visiting Lithuania on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment and the 30th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Lithuania and the Czech Republic.
During the meeting, the Foreign Ministers discussed bilateral relations between Lithuania and the Czech Republic, the potential of economic cooperation, the situation in Afghanistan, the Eastern Partnership initiative, as well as relations with Russia and China. The discussion focused mainly on political, financial and technical support, Lithuania’s response to the irregular migration crisis, and a possible review of EU migration rules and measures to strengthen its external borders.
“We are grateful to the Czech Republic, whose Government has decided to allocate more than half a million euros of financial assistance to Lithuania, facing a hybrid attack on Belarus. Lithuania's border with Belarus is the EU's external border. Thus, together with the Czech Republic, we aim to ensure its security,” said Landsbergis. The Czech Republic is the first country to offer financial assistance to Lithuania to help the country defend itself against the Belarusian regime's hybrid attack. The Foreign Ministers agreed on the importance of changing the existing EU migration rules and of adapting them to the current realities and challenges.
The Minister of the Interior of Lithuania Agnė Bilotaitė also attended the meeting. Bilotaitė, together with Kulhánek, who was acting on behalf of the Minister of the Interior of the Czech Republic, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the allocation of financial support worth EUR 530 000 to manage the migration crisis. In the past, the Czech Republic has already granted aid worth EUR 125 000 to Lithuania. The country has donated tents, folding beds with mattresses, blankets, heaters, and sleeping bags.
Landsbergis affirmed that Lithuania appreciated the Czech Republic’s contribution to the strengthening of the security of Lithuania and the whole region. “This is a very important practical expression of solidarity with our country. We hope the Czech Republic will actively engage in the matters also in the future,” said Landsbergis.
Landsbergis also welcomed intensive bilateral economic relations. “Despite the pandemic, trade between Lithuania and the Czech Republic continued to grow. There is, nevertheless, considerable scope for further increased economic cooperation. We are pleased that a business delegation has accompanied the Czech Foreign Minister. I believe that contacts established between business partners during today's business forum will turn into concrete cooperation projects," said the Foreign Minister.