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Press Office

Athens, 15 July 2021

Meeting of President of Hellenic Parliament with Prime Minister of Lithuania

“Our two countries are united by similar challenges and ambitions” said the President of the Hellenic Parliament Constantine Tassoulas during his meeting with the Prime Minister of Lithuania Ingrida Šimonytė, who is visiting our country following an invitation by the Greek Prime Minister.

The President of the Parliament welcomed the Prime Minister of Lithuania with the following statement:

“Your Excellency, Prime Minister of the friendly country of Lithuania, it is with great honour and pleasure that I welcome you to the Hellenic Parliament, to the Greek capital, Athens, on this sunny day.

Our countries are geographically apart, but democratically, politically and culturally they are very close. Geography has been a defining factor for the fate of both our countries, sometimes a negative one. Today both countries, members of the EU and NATO, follow the same democratic principles and defend the values of the UN, because we want geography as a factor, and rightfully so, to be about other dimensions of our lives and not politics and in place of geography, and this may be a romantic notion, we’d rather see the factor of the prevalence of international law.

As I said, we have much in common uniting us. A defining geography. Pressure from migration flows that are instrumentalised by our neighbouring countries, in our case Turkey, to exert political pressure and - dare we say - extort. We are linked by our struggle for a better environment and we are very concerned by the fact that our neighbouring countries host nuclear facilities. We are connected by a noble ambition for the post-Covid period, for economic growth for our countries and for us and I’m guessing for you as well this is linked to the repatriation of many talented young people, Greeks and Lithuanians, who presently live abroad.

Our two countries are therefore united by similar challenges and ambitions and aware myself of this union and this common fate, within the EU and our common alliances, I welcome you again in my country. And I feel the need to tell you that the Greek State, but also the Greek Parliament with the Friendship Group represented here by the Chair, Mrs. Anna Karamanli, we will try and we will succeed, I am certain, to expand our economic relations and to look to our common future with optimism and hope”.

The Prime Minister of Lithuania responded with the following statement:

“Thank you Mr. President for having me and this is a great honour that we were able to meet you in person as well as my counterpart, the Prime Minister.

And you said that we are geographically remote, but one flight from Athens to Vilnius appeared to prove that we are so close to each other, because somebody just decided to ground it in the middle of the way, attacking the fundamental right of a journalist to express his views and fight for free speech.

So, since then we saw very unfortunate developments at our border, we see a sudden influx of migration, I know that Greece had to cope with much bigger numbers, but what worries us is not the number itself, but the trend, the dynamics and the methodology behind it and we know that it’s not just the criminals who usually participate in this, taking money from people who just want to flee to some other country for a better life usually, and they often turn them down somewhere at the border of some foreign country, but this also has the scent of participation of the institutions that could be named governmental or close to Lukashenko government.

Of course, we also have these other worries that we share, and where we have a common position at the European level against unsafe nuclear power plants, again, this is a common feeling of the problem because we face one and I’m very thankful for my colleagues in the government and for Greece as a country for a very strong support for us when there was the hi-jacking of the plane, because the reaction was extremely strong and extremely timely and now I’m very thankful to Greece for providing us all the open heart to help us to cope with the challenges that we now face at our borders. I know that we now have to learn a lot, you are a country where we can learn, and we’ve learned.

Our parliament just passed a piece of legislation that is based on your experience about the procedures of processing the requests for asylum and this proved to be quite effective in your country, I hope it will also be effective in my country. The technical solutions, the practical solutions that we undertake are quite similar to what you have done. Our officers were participating in joint efforts in fighting, combating, this migration crisis in Greece, so they’ve learned a lot as well. And I’m very thankful for this opportunity to meet with you in person and I hope that we will have a productive discussion and our cooperation will not be just on the problems that we share but also on the perspectives that we have.”

The President of the Parliament offered the Prime Minister of Lithuania the gift of a case containing eight silver anniversary coins by the “Greece 2021” Committee, on the 200 years since the revolution, with these words: “You find yourself in Greece and in the Hellenic Parliament the year we celebrate the two centuries since the Revolution that led to our liberation from the Ottoman yoke. These eight silver coins represent from 1830 to 1947 the eight expansions of the territory of Greece following its liberation.

Today Greece seeks only the economic expansion of its borders and I am certain that we will see to this through expansion of our economic relations with Lithuania as well. One of the first things that the first Greek government did when Greece was liberated from the Ottoman yoke was to fight piracy in the Mediterranean. According to the announcement by the Greek government, you had to deal with a case of state endorsed hi-jacking. So, Greeks are on your side in this, as they have always been against piracy.”

Present in the meeting were also the Chairwoman of the Greece – Lithuania Parliamentary Friendship Group Anna Karamanli and the Secretary General of the Parliament George Mylonakis.

The Prime Minister of Lithuania was accompanied by the Deputy Minister of the Interior Arnoldas Abramavičius and the Deputy Minister of Justice Jurga Greičienė, as well as by the Ambassador of Lithuania in Greece Rolandas Kačinskas.






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