Working visit of the Speaker of the Seimas to London: ‘The United Kingdom’s leadership is important in the current context’
Press release, 1 March 2023
On Wednesday, Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, began her working visit to London by meeting Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
‘The visit is set against the backdrop of the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine. Therefore, the agenda includes such key issues as support for the fighting Ukraine, strengthening of security on NATO’s eastern flank, and the forthcoming NATO Summit in Vilnius, which is the highlight of the Lithuanian foreign and defence policy this year. Of course, there was talk about parliamentary leadership in strengthening the bilateral relations and strategic partnership,’ Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen said.
Photo by Olga Posaškova, Office of the Seimas
At the meeting, the Speaker of the Seimas said that society should not take comfort in the news about the weakened Russia and its failures in Ukraine, because the Kremlin is still determined to break Ukraine’s resistance and the unity of the democratic world and will spare no resources to achieve this goal.
‘It is now essential to avoid reducing Russia’s invasion to solely a regional crisis. The military plans published recently by Russia and its expanding military footprint in Belarus are geared towards a long-term confrontation with NATO. Our response should be the transatlantic partnership and ever greater European unity on security, energy and other matters. At the meeting, I have emphasised that it is particularly in this context that the leadership of the United Kingdom has a role to play,’ said Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen. ‘It is welcome that both the European Union and the United Kingdom can find common practical solutions. Take, for example, a new deal struck over post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland a couple of days ago. Finding solutions is what unites and strengthens us and what is needed right now.’
According to the Speaker of the Seimas, security is now a top priority. ‘There is only one credible way to deter Russia, and that is permanent presence of NATO troops in our region in combination with the reinforcement of the eastern flank of the Alliance. Therefore, our expectations are high ahead of the NATO Summit in Vilnius. And the success of the Summit, in turn, will depend on the decisions that we will take on Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations,’ she said.
Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen invited Lindsay Hoyle to attend the parliamentary event to be held in Vilnius on 1–3 June 2023 in the run-up for the NATO Summit.
Previously, the Speaker of the Seimas met with the Lithuanian community in the UK. She will also have a meeting with Tobias Ellwood, Chair of the Defence Committee of the House of Commons, and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Lithuania. Apart from participating in other events and meetings, Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen will make a presentation at the event Quo Vadis, Europa: Is Europe ready to face hardships in support of Ukraine? co-organised by the Eastern Europe Studies Centre (EESC) and the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House).
Ilona Petrovė, Spokesperson for Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, tel. +370 5 239 6030, mob. +370 698 42 071, e-mail: [email protected], www.lrs.lt