Speaker of the Seimas met the Speaker of the Flemish Parliament
Press release, 21 September 2017
Photos of the Office of the Seimas (author Olga Posaškova)
On 21 September 2017, Viktoras Pranckietis, Speaker of the Seimas, welcomed the delegation of the Flemish Parliament headed by its Speaker Jan Peumans.
The parliament Speakers were satisfied to note the close cooperation between Lithuania and the Flanders, the economically strongest Belgian region.
“We are happy about excellent political, economic, and cultural relations between Lithuania and Belgium. We are strong likeminded partners on many foreign and security policy matters. Lithuania is grateful to Belgium for its support to enhancing the security of the region. Belgium has been the first country on several previous occasions to show its solidarity with Lithuania in practical terms. In 2004, the Belgian air forces launched the NATO Air Policing Mission of the Baltic States. In January this year, Belgian troops were the first to come to Lithuania and contribute to the deployment of the EFP multinational battalion,” Mr Pranckietis said.
The meeting recalled the visits by King Philippe of Belgium and other high-ranking Belgian officials to Lithuania, and the planned bilateral inter-parliamentary meetings. One such meeting will take place on 11 October 2017, when Lithuanian parliamentarians will meet their counterparts in the House of Representatives and the Senate of Belgium.
The Speaker of the Seimas noted that Lithuania saw a huge cooperation potential in developing the LNG market. In spring 2017, the Lithuanian delegation under the leadership of Žygimantas Vaičiūnas, Minister of Energy, paid a visit to Flemish sea-ports. During the visit, AB Klaipėdos nafta and the Fluxys-operated LNG terminal in Zeebrugge signed the Memorandum of Understanding. The Speaker of the Seimas also considered that life sciences, which have been strongly developed both in Lithuania and Belgium, were yet another area of potential cooperation. The Speaker of the Siemas extended his invitation to Flemish representatives to take part in the 4th international forum Life Sciences Baltics 2018, which is expected to attract over 1,500 experts from more than 30 countries worldwide.
Belgium is an important trading partner for Lithuania. The trade turnover accounted for over 1 billion euros last year. The trade volumes were clearly on an upward trend in recent years and increased twofold within the last decade. Trade volumes with the Flemish region are responsible for 80 percent of Lithuania’s trade with Belgium.
“We are therefore happy about the decision to open the Flanders Investment and Trade Office in Vilnius for the Baltic States. We hope that the decision will contribute to further development of mutual economic relations,” the Speaker said.
Viktoras Pranckietis said that Belgium was one of the top investors globally. “We maintain excellent bilateral political and economic relations; Lithuania scores high in international rankings on business environment; we have a developed infrastructure and well-trained young specialists. We invite Belgian companies to be more active in investing in Lithuania. Manufacturing, life sciences, logistics and business service centres are the promising areas of investment in Lithuania,” Mr Pranckietis said calling for closer cooperation.
The meeting paid special attention to security in the region. The parliament Speakers touched upon the matters of NATO forces and Lithuania’s decision to allocate 2.07 percent of GDP to defence as of next year with over 30 percent of which going to the modernisation of the army. Additionally, they talked about nuclear safety, the Astravyets nuclear power plant in Belarus, the situation in Ukraine and the sanctions on Russia.
Dalia Vencevičienė, Senior Adviser to the Speaker of the Seimas, tel. +370 5 239 6016, mob. +370 698 42 071, e-mail: [email protected]