President Klaus Iohannis praised on Wednesday in Vilnius the dialogue and cooperation between Romania and Lithuania and said that the two countries share common interests to boost bilateral relationship but also the cooperation inside the EU and NATO on security matters.
Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis, on a two-day state visit to Lithuania, and his host, President Dalia Grybauskaite, discussed both in private and assisted by their staff. They exchanged opinions and decorations; Iohannis bestowed on Grybauskaite the Collar of the Order of the Star of Romania, and got the Collar Chain of the Order of Vytautas the Great. He also presented Dalia Grybauskas with a ‘ie’, a traditional Romanian blouse.
After talks with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite on the bilateral political, economic and specialized collaboration and on topics of the European and international agenda, Iohannis declared: ” In parallel with the excellent political relations the two countries have, there is a significant potential of collaboration in concrete fields, such as the tourism, IT, new technologies, agriculture, trade, or energy. There are sectors where the bilateral exchanges can be boosted. Lithuania has substantial expertise in the energy sector, in building an economy based on knowledge, in successfully going through the adoption of euro.”
He mentioned that he has stressed during the talks the importance of continuing the reforms in European spirit in the Republic of Moldova, and that the situation in Ukraine has been also analysed.
“We also agreed on the importance of further support to the Eastern Partnership, which we need to revive, possibly adding new instruments and policies to it, so that it remains relevant as a lever for the European transformation of the partner states and for getting them closer to the European Union, if they want,” Iohannis added.
The President also called for a “balanced approach” to the consolidation of the eastern flank of NATO, both on its southern and northern parts.
“There are threats on NATO’s eastern flank; obviously we’re talking today about Lithuania. There are also threats on the southern part of this flank – here it’s especially about Romania – but we think it’s important for NATO to thoroughly consolidate its whole eastern flank, to have a very strong position. (…) Overall, it is important to have a balanced approach, meaning no considerably significant measures on one part, while the other part is somehow weakened. This balanced approach is important to make the whole flank stronger. It wouldn’t be good and no one should want to weaken one part of the flank, because it would weaken the whole construction, instead of strengthening it,” Iohannis said in his joint press conference with his Lithuanian counterpart.
He exposed the Russian rhetoric against the missile defence facility in Deveselu, Romania as part of Moscow’s communication strategy.
“The fact that a Russian rhetoric now exists, accusing NATO and Romania for the inauguration of the facility in Deveselu is part of the communication strategy devised in Russia, which has a certain tendency of showing things as pointed towards Russia. The shield that includes Deveselu is not a structure aimed at Russia – we said that and we will keep saying it, simply because it’s true,” Iohannis insisted.
President Grybauskaite stressed that the defence of NATO member states is an Allied matter: “We are NATO members, and defending this area is a matter that concerns NATO, not other countries,” she said, hailing the deployment of the missile defence system in Romania and assuring of Lithuania’s support for such initiatives.
“Sanctions are inefficient in migration crisis and some solutions are weak”
Romania’s President said in Vilnius that sanctions to EU member states opposing the relocation of migrants would be inefficient; he also criticized some earlier measures to settle the migration crisis.
“The approach through sanctions does not seem relevant, and I don’t think further details are necessary. Sanctions are not what we need to seek now for the migrant crisis. It wouldn’t solve anything. What we have to find is solutions. We see some solutions found so far as weak. We still hope finding excellent solutions, but we support the partial solutions found to date. I am talking about the strengthening of EU’s outer borders, especially through FRONTEX, to which Romania is the second contributor after Germany,” Iohannis said Wednesday in a joint press conference with his Lithuanian counterpart Dalia Grybauskaite.
He mentioned that Romania is willing to accept migrants “when necessary,” but estimated that overall the correct approach to this problem is to find “proactive solutions, instead on focusing on sanctions.”
The President of Lithuania described the migrant problem as “complicated,” and noted that her country and Romania have “similar positions” on the matter, namely on the need for EY to protect its borders while offering migrants the possibility to integrate. “Constraining measures are out of question. We cannot force a country to act against its will and we cannot force migrants to move to other localities,” she commented the idea of sanctions.
President Iohannis’ agenda in Vilnius included the signing by the relevant ministers of a protocol for bilateral consultations between the Foreign Ministries of Romania and Lithuania.
According to Romania’s Presidential Administration, the purpose of President Iohannis’s visit to Vilnius is to consolidate the coordination of Romania and Lithuania, especially as regards security, and to find new cooperation opportunities in support of the eastern partners.
President Iohannis meets Chairman of Lithuanian Parliament Grauziniene
President Klaus Iohannis also met in Vilnius Lithuania’s Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius and Chairman of the Lithuanian Parliament Loretta Grauziniene.
Iohannis also laid a wreath at the Independence War Heroes Monument at the Antakalnis Cemetery of Vilnius.
The visit also had a scientific component, as Iohannis toured the Laser Centre at the Sunrise Valley technology park.
The Presidential Administration says the center opened in December 2014, founded by the Vilnius University, the Gediminas Technical University of Vilnius and leading IT, communications and laser companies.
The Romanian head of state was scheduled to attend a state dinner extended by his Lithuanian counterpart at the end of his visit.