Lithuania can be considered a leader in growth in the European Union (EU) and a prime example to all member states – says British Foreign Minister William Hague, who arrived in Vilnius following the invitation of Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis.
Hague is the first Chief of British foreign policy department to visit Lithuania after the restoration of its independence.
The British minister met not only with his Lithuanian counterpart, but the Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius.
«I am personally very happy to visit such a dynamic country. Lithuania is a leader in growth in the EU, a model of fiscal discipline and a versatile model for other countries,»- Hague noted, while participating in the annual discussion of Lithuanian representatives in Vilnius.
Ažubalis noted that questions on how not only to maintain and improve mutual trade increase rates, but also how to strengthen investment flow were discussed on a practical level during the meeting.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister noted the formation of an intensive contact among the UK the Baltic Countries and Scandinavia as one of the most important topics of the meeting.
«The Nordic circle, as I call it, is a unique area, which is not only known for its economic dynamics, but also for its versatile competency. The more intensive the cooperation of Nordic countries, Baltic States and the UK within the EU in terms of defence, the more intensive the exchange of experts’ opinions in the field of internal policy will be, the faster we can all leave the economic crisis behind, the more positive ground we can prepare for the foundation of our regions, keeping in mind that our opinions on financial policy match,»- he says.
«The UK never recognized Lithuania’s annex, the soldiers of both countries took part in the mission in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan together,»- Ažubalis said. «At the same time, there is still an enormous untapped bilateral political and economic cooperation potential.»
On Wednesday, July 18, both ministers also joined in the talks regarding the 2014-2020 EU budget. The Chief of Lithuanian Foreign policy department turned the attention of his British colleague on Lithuania’s concerns about the possible reduction of funds for cohesion policy and highlighted the positive affect of the EU support on Lithuania’s economic growth, reminding that back in 2001, Lithuania’s GDP, calculated per capita, was equivalent to 42% from the average index in the EU; this index was 62% in 2011.
According to Ažubalis, it is very important to maintain cohesion policy as the main instrument for increasing competitiveness throughout all EU countries.
He also said that it is very important to ensure appropriate funding for the closure of the old Ignalina NPP in Lithuania, which is not only a national, but an EU project as well.