Yesterday, April 24, H.R.H Crown Prince Haakon & Crown Princess Mette-Marit met with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite at the Lithuanian Presidential Palace, then stood in formal attendance as Norwegian state officials signed two bilateral memorandums of Norway’s NOK 1.1B grants to the EEA.
H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon commented during his first formal visit to the Baltic nation, saying; “We wish to focus upon 2 main issues of importance; maintaining civil society, and of cooperation within arenas of justice between our nations.”
Norway’s Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide (H) also issued statement in a Ministry press release; “The aim of the (EEA/Lithuanian) funding is to create jobs, contribute to social equalization and strengthen democratic institutions.”
Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs state secretary Audun Halvorsen (H) signed the agreement on behalf of Norway; afterward highlighting within statement that stronger judicial cooperation between the nations is being forged as an effort to fight illegal, cross-border issues of organized crime & fraudulent employment.
Lithuania’s President Grybauskaite also released statement, saying Norway’s support to Lithuania over a 7 year period will total € 115M; slated to promote & develop strong social dialogue, civil society, health care, environmental care, business, innovation & research.
President Grybauskaite also emphasized the strategic importance of the ongoing partnership between Lithuania and Norway. According to Grybauskaite, the two nations have strengthened ties throughout 28 years of Lithuanian independence,with major emphasis upon matters of national defense.
Norwegian soldiers were among the first to join NATO’s enhanced presence in Lithuania with a contingent force of almost 30 soldiers. Lithuania is purchasing the NASAMS military air-defense system from Norway, and Norway’s navy is utilized within NATO’s anti-missile shield over the Baltic.
The Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania all enjoy bilateral cooperation with Norway via Norwegian support programs & NATO security policy. Norway is also home to hundreds of Baltic business ventures that contribute in no small measure to Norway’s strong economy.
Their Royal Highness’s The Crown Prince and Crown Princess are conducting this formal state visit within Lithuania on the centenary of Lithuania’s Declaration of Independence; traveling with the Norwegian defense minister, the Foreign Affairs Ministry state secretary and a contingent of business leaders.
Since regaining their independence from Russia, the Baltic states have grown close to Norway, and this formal visit is not the first state visit between them. King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway visited the Baltic states 20 years ago, and since then several presidents of the Baltic countries have been welcomed in Oslo.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today