During the meeting held on Friday 18 June, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš and Prime Minister of Lithuania Ingrida Šimonytė, discussed bilateral cooperation, regional and international issues on the agenda. This was the first official visit of the Prime Minister of Lithuania to Latvia.
“Cooperation between Latvia and Lithuania is rooted in history, culture, interests and values. We are united by joint work in the European Union and NATO. Today we discussed a number of issues that are at the heart of our common interests, including the overall security situation in the Baltic region and the strong support of both countries in NATO. We discussed the major economic cooperation initiatives for our countries, the Rail Baltica, as well as the electricity grid synchronisation projects, which will connect us more closely with Europe, creating opportunities for greater economic cooperation. I am convinced that after this meeting our friendship will become even stronger; we are even more determined to strengthen our shared values in the region - freedom, democracy and the rule of law,” said K. Kariņš after the meeting.
As regards the overcoming of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Heads of Government of the two countries stressed the importance of information sharing and coordination of policies to prevent the spread of the pandemic among the Baltic States. At present, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have a joint task to ensure an effective and smooth vaccination process. K. Kariņš welcomed the accession of both countries to the EU's digital Covid-19 certificate.
The Prime Ministers of Latvia and Lithuania discussed regional projects for economic cooperation – the progress in designing and construction work of the Rail Baltica was discussed, and an agreement was reached that experts should draft an intergovernmental agreement on joint infrastructure management by the end of the year. As regards the issues relating to electricity generation and supplies in the region, K.Kariņš reiterated his support for Lithuania's concerns about the safety of the Astravets nuclear power plant; since November 2020, Latvia has ceased to trade in electricity with Belarus. The officials also noted the progress of the Baltic and EU electricity grid synchronisation project.
The two parties discussed the topical issues of international relations and regional security. The Prime Ministers of Latvia and Lithuania welcomed the decisions of the NATO Summit and the involvement of the US in dealing with important issues for the region, and agreed that the situation in the region as a whole was worrying because Russia has not been behaving as a responsible international player for a long time. In the discussion with the Prime Minister of Lithuania, K. Kariņš stressed the need to support reform processes in the Eastern Partnership countries, with a particular focus on the strengthening of resilience in the areas such as the economy, security and the fight against disinformation. The officials emphasized the need to continue providing support to the Belarusian civil society.