Fourlateral meeting of the Heads of the Baltic States and Poland took place in Vilnius. Upon the invitation of President Valdas Adamkus of the Republic of Lithuania, President Arnold Rüütel of the Republic of Estonia, President Vaira Vike-Freiberga of the Republic of Latvia and President Aleksander Kwasniewski of the Republic of Poland paid visit to Vilnius.
The four Presidents discussed preparation of the Baltic countries for the membership of NATO and the European Union, fight against international terrorism, infrastructure development projects and relations with neighbouring states.
President Adamkus evaluated this summit as a sign of solidarity of Poland, a NATO state, with the Baltic countries. He thanked President Kwasniewski for continued support of the Polish government to the goal of Lithuania to integrate in the Euro-Atlantic structures.
The heads of state of the Baltic countries assured that Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia would spare no effort to continue the reforms necessary for the modernisation of their states.
According to President Adamkus, implementation of the common agreement of all political parties to allocate 2 per cent of GDP for defence needs demonstrates the firm resolve of Lithuania to join the North Atlantic Alliance.
While discussing the issues relating to integration in the European Union, the Presidents agreed on the need to regularly exchange information and conduct consultations as well as develop joint regional projects in the fields of transport, energy and environmental protection.
Considerable attention during the discussions was also paid to the improvement of transport infrastructure. The Presidents agreed that in the immediate future the Baltic countries and Poland should co-ordinate their positions on upgrading the highway and railway line between Tallinn and Warsaw, and develop joined projects.
In Vilnius, President Adamkus also had bilateral meeting with the Presidents of Estonia, Latvia and Poland.
The Lithuanian head of the state and President Arnold Rüütel of the Republic of Estonia discussed during the meeting bilateral political, economic and cultural relations, the course of preparation for membership of the European Union and NATO as well as co-operation within the framework of domestic reforms.
President Adamkus underlined that Estonia was one of the major partners of Lithuania in trade and foreign investment. Lithuania’s exports to Estonia increased by 72 per cent last year and amounted to USD 150 million. By 2002, Estonia invested in Lithuania USD 264 million. The number of joint Lithuanian-Estonian ventures and companies with Estonian capital has exceeded 250.
The Presidents of Lithuania and Estonia emphasised the need to pool the scientific and business potential of the Baltic states for building a secure and economically healthy region, basing its development on advanced technologies. The Presidents also discussed possibilities for co-operation in transforming the agriculture of both countries from extensive to modern farming and in creating new jobs in rural areas.
President Adamkus stated that Lithuania and Estonia could more actively share their experience of domestic reforms, in particular in the field of building the information society. The Presidents exchanged views on implementation of regional infrastructure and energy projects.
They also emphasised the need to promote more actively the culture and art of Lithuania and Estonia.
During the meeting with the Latvian leader, Vaira Vyke-Freiberga, President Adamkus underlined the importance of bilateral trade to national economies of both states. He also emphasised the need to ensure a smooth movement of goods and persons across the common border.
The Lithuanian President stressed that Kaunas, a second largest city of Lithuania, was looking forward to the visit of the Latvian President scheduled on 29 April. Kaunas University of Vytautas Magnus will award the Presidents of Lithuania and Latvia the title of Honorary Doctor.
The Lithuanian leader also expressed his hope that the Latvian President would participate in the discussion The Fate of Nations and Languages in a United Europe that would be held during the Frankfurt Book Fair in October of this year. According to the Lithuanian President, the discussion will provide a good opportunity to introduce to Europe the Baltic languages and the culture of Lithuania and Latvia.
The Presidents of Lithuania and Poland discussed the development of joint infrastructure projects. The heads of state of Lithuania and Poland agreed on the need to involve into the projects other Baltic countries as well as Finland and the EU member states.
The Lithuanian leader thanked President Kwasniewski for the measures taken by the Polish Government to improve movement across the Lithuanian-Polish border. On 19 March this year, the Polish Parliament approved unanimously the agreement concerning joint customs control at the border.
The Presidents Adamkus and Kwasniewski exchanged views on the education issues relating to the national minorities. President Adamkus assured that the issue would be included in the agenda of the forthcoming meeting of the education ministers of Lithuania and Poland. The Presidents expressed common opinion that the issue of education did not impede development of the bilateral relations.
The Presidents also discussed possibilities to expand co-operation with Kaliningrad region in the context of EU integration of Lithuania and Poland.
The President of Lithuania invited President Kwasniewski to participate in the celebration of the 750th anniversary of Klaipeda, Lithuania’s seaport city, on 2 August 2002.
Press Service of the President