06/11/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/11/2021 03:21
Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė took part in a remote meeting of the Prime Ministers of the Baltic and Benelux countries to discuss economic recovery and climate change, security, and defence, strengthening of the Eastern Partnership, and the COVID-19 challenges.
'We saw the cooperation between the Benelux countries as a role model for the Baltic cooperation following the restoration of independence. It is symbolic that our relations are so close today, and that the troops from all the three Benelux countries are present in the NATO's Forward Presence Battalion in Lithuania', said the Prime Minister.
'The presence of your troops in the Baltic States demonstrates the solidarity of the Alliance and is an extremely important contribution to the security of the whole of Europe', said Ingrida Šimonytė.
The Prime Ministers also discussed items on the European agenda: the EU leadership in climate change policy, EU efforts in the supply of vaccines and in vaccination, and the national economic recovery plans.
The Prime Ministers spoke about the deteriorating situation for the civil society in Russia and Belarus, the threat posed by Russia, and support needed by the Eastern Partnership countries.
'We have been, and we will continue to be ardent advocates of the Eastern Partnership initiative, as we believe that closer relations between these countries and the EU will bring long-lasting mutual benefits. Lithuania is a great example of how reforms can change the country, that is why we support the efforts of the Eastern Partners to take the path of reforms. We believe that the European perspective would add much to the motivation', noted the Lithuanian Prime Minister.
The Head of Government thanked the Prime Ministers for their solidarity and rapid response to the hijacking of a civilian aircraft and called for continued pressure on the Belarussian regime.
'It is extremely painful to see human rights being grossly violated in the European neighbourhood, the growing number of political prisoners, and brutal torture of people who dare to exercise their civil rights', said Prime Minister Šimonytė.
'The Belarussian regime has openly threatened the European Union with uncontrolled migrant and smuggled flows. Today, on the border with Belarus, we are facing a sharp increase in the flow of illegal migrants, which is possibly happening with the regime's knowledge', said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister noted that the policy pursued by the Belarussian regime painfully testifies to the ned for supporting the spread of democratic values in the EU neighbourhood.
This meeting of the Prime Ministers of the Baltic and Benelux countries took place at the initiative of Lithuania and Belgium, as these countries currently hold the presidency of the Baltic Council of Ministers and the Benelux format, respectively.