Speech by Viktoras Pranckietis, Speaker of the Seimas, at the Opening of the 9th Session of the Assembly of Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the Sejm and Senate of the Republic of Poland, and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
12 November 2018
Marshal of the Sejm,
Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada,
Members of the delegations,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you at the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania at a time when all three countries – Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine – are marking the centenary of the restoration and declaration of their independence. Last spring, all highest-ranking officials of Poland and Ukraine made a visit to Vilnius. The frequency of our meetings attests to the exceptional nature and importance of our relations and contributes to reinforcing them even further.
This year is special for our countries, as Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine are marking the centenary of their restored independence.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to renew my congratulations to Stanisław Karczewski, Marshal of the Senate of the Republic of Poland, and the delegation under his leadership, on National Independence Day and the 100th anniversary of the restoration of Poland’s statehood, which was commemorated yesterday.
We will soon mark the fifth anniversary of the Maidan revolution, which represented a turning point on Ukraine’s path towards the West.
This year the trilateral Assembly adopted the slogan From the 450th anniversary of the Union of Lublin to the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership. This goes to show that we have always enjoyed uninterrupted historical ties, which we continue to foster and promote.
The good climate in our relations helps us concentrate on concrete and practical matters and look for common ground. I am convinced that this meeting format provides us with an opportunity to collectively develop relations with the European Union and the United States of America and join our efforts in addressing emerging threats.
We are reviving the tradition to jointly celebrate our belonging to this community. Next year, we will commemorate the 450th anniversary of the Union of Lublin, the 10th anniversary of the EU’s Eastern Partnership, and the 25th anniversary of the Treaty between the Republic of Lithuania and the Republic of Poland on Friendly Relations and Good Neighbourly Cooperation. (By the way, the Lithuanian–Ukrainian strategic partnership marked its 10th anniversary last May).
Today offers us an excellent opportunity to assess the outcomes of recent developments. Moreover, we have a unique possibility to hold a joint strategic discussion on the future of the Eastern Partnership, and thus that of Ukraine, too.
We are willing to share our experience. Regional cooperation had always brought success to the Baltic States in their pursuit of Euro-Atlantic integration. Joint initiatives and collective work – from the Vilnius Conference and the Vilnius Group to the Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels – had commanded Europe’s attention.
We are willing to assist the Ukrainian people in their endeavour to implement key reforms, such as fighting corruption, enhancing openness and transparency, and improving business climate. We must ensure continued progress, bearing in mind the expectations of donors and those of the Ukrainian people.
We also welcome the procedure which has been launched with regard to consolidating Ukraine’s European and trans-Atlantic aspirations in the Ukrainian Constitution.
The European Union’s agenda should not be forgotten, either. Poland will assume the Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2025, with Lithuania to follow suit in 2027. We emphasise the need to join efforts for the economic and political integration of Ukraine into the European Union and to start, as of now, preparations for this on the example of the EU Strategy for the Western Balkans.
We welcome the Three Seas Initiative, which brings together the Baltic, Central European and Western Balkan countries and their integration experience, including that gained through support and promotion of the economic, infrastructural and political integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union.
We should not only applaud the close political and economic cooperation between our countries but also strive to bring our societies closer together. Bringing our societies closer together can actually result in a genuine sense of commonness in Europe.
What is more, I propose to do everything possible to promote youth cooperation and cooperation between various political forces, such as political parties and social movements. I therefore invite us all to take an active part in the debate.
I invite us all to pursue practical outcomes of our inter-parliamentary cooperation and benefit from the fruits of our joint work.
Thank you very much and I wish us all strength and every success.