Bilateral relations between Estonia and Lithuania are very good. Their excellent relations are based on similar foreign policy priorities, as a result of which close co-operation and active communication continues between Estonia and Lithuania on various levels. Many meetings take place regionally in the framework of Baltic (Baltic Council of Ministers, Baltic Assembly, Baltic Council) and Nordic-Baltic (NB8) co-operation..
Estonia and Lithuania exchanged diplomatic representatives already in 1919. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were restored on August 22, 1991. Estonia’s first Ambassador to Lithuania following the restoration of independence, Valvi Strikaitienė, presented her credentials on 2 June 1992. Jana Vanaveski serves as the current Estonian Ambassador to Lithuania, having presented her credentials to Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite on August 31, 2016. The Embassy of Lithuania in Estonia is headed by the ambassador Giedrius Apuokas since September 5, 2017.
Since April 2003, the honorary consul of the Republic of Lithuania in Estonia covering the consular area of Tartu and Tartu County is Tartu University professor and chairman of the Estonian Language Council Birute Klaas-Lang. In May 2008, Mr Virginijus Biskys was sworn in as the first Estonian honorary consul in Lithuania, covering the consular area of Klaipėda,Telšiai and Tauragė counties from Klaipėda.
Estonia now has three honorary consuls in Lithuania. Ms Žaneta Simanavičienė resides in Kaunas and her consular area includes Kaunas, Marijampolė and Alytus counties while Mr Gintaras Sluckus cover Siauliai, Panevėžys and Utena counties from Šiauliai.
|June 2017||Prime Minister Jüri Ratas for the meeting of Baltic Prime Ministers|
|January 2017||Foreign Minister Sven Mikser on a working visit|
|October 2016||President Kersti Kaljulaid on a working visit|
|October 2016||Foreign Minister Jürgen Ligi on a working visit|
|Septenber 2016||Minister of Culture Indrek Saar on a working visit|
|December 2015||Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas for the meeting of Baltic Prime Ministers|
|December 2015||Defence Minister Hannes Hanso for the meeting of Baltic Defence Ministers|
|November 2015||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves for the meeting of Baltic Presidents|
|November 2015||President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor for the Baltic Assembly|
|November 2015||Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand on a working visit and for the Baltic Council|
|May 2015||Defence Minister Sven Mikser at the meeting of Baltic Defence Ministers|
|April 2015||Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus on a working visit|
|April 2015||Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas on a a working visit and at the Baltic Prime Ministers meeting|
|November 2015||Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus on a working visit|
|May 2014||Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas on a working visit|
|May 2013||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on a state visit|
|May 2013||Defence Minister Urmas Reinsalu|
|November 2011||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on a working visit|
|July 2010||Prime Minister Andrus Ansip on an official visit|
|August 2009||Prime Minister Andrus Ansip|
|August 2009||Chairman of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma|
|July 2009||Prime Minister Andrus Ansip|
|February 2008||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves|
|June 2017||President Dalia Grybauskaite on a state visit|
|May 2017||Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis at the Baltic and the Polish Prime Ministers meeting|
|January 2017||Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis on a working visit and at the Baltic Prime Ministers meeting|
|December 2016||Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis for the meeting of Baltic Defence Ministers|
|May 2016||Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius for Lennart Meri conference|
|December 2014||Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius for a meeting of Baltic prime ministers|
|September 2014||Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius for a meeting of Nordic and Baltic foreign ministers|
|February 2014||Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius for a meeting of Baltic prime ministers|
|March 2013||Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius on a working visit|
|February 2013||Speaker of the Seimas Vydas Gedvilas on an official visit|
|January 2013||Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius on a working visit|
|June 2011||President Dalia Grybauskaite on a working visit to Tartu|
|March 2010||Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis on a working visit|
|October 2009||President Dalia Grybauskaite on a working visit|
|February 2009||Foreign Minister Vygaudas Ušackas|
|January 2009||Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius|
|December 2008||Speaker of the Seimas Arunas Valinskas|
|November 2008||Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas|
|November 2008||President Valdas Adamkus|
|April 2008||President Valdas Adamkus on a state visit|
- Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation of Income and Capital and the Prevention of Tax Evasion (08.02.06);
- Air Services Agreement (came into force 05.09.95);
- Agreement on the Promotion and Mutual Protection of Investments (came into force 20.06.96);
- Agreement on the Mutual Protection of Classified Information (came into force 15.11.00).
Economic contacts between Estonia and Lithuania have developed rapidly. Lithuania, due to its geographic proximity and its large developing market, offers opportunities in several sectors. Lithuania continues to be Estonia's good economic and trade partner.
Estonia-Lithuania trade 2012-2016 (million euros)
|Year||Turnover||Percentage %||Export||Percentage %||Import||Percentage %|
|2012||1 817.2||6,8%||657,6||5.3%||1 159,6||8.2%|
|2013||1 940,5||7,4%||716,4||5,8%||1 224,1||8.8%|
|2014||1 789,8||6,9%||637.5||5.3%||1 152,3||8.4%|
|2015||1 926,5||7,8%||677,5||5.9%||1 249,0||9.5%|
Import calculated according to country of shipment
The trade between Estonia and Lithuania has increased approximately up to two billions euros (in 2016 it made up to 7,9% of the total turnover), putting Lithuania on fifth place among Estonia’s trade partners. Lithuania occupies the same place with regard to Estonian export markets (6% of the total export). In 2016 import has also increased, as a result of which Lithuania places the third import partner for Estonia. In 2016 the main export articles to Lithuania were transport vehicles (23%), machinery and equipment (19%), chemical products (9,7%) and animal products (8,3%). In 2016 the main import articles from Lithuania were mineral products (26,3%), chemical products (14,1%), machinery and equipment (15,6%) and prepared food and drink products (9,6%).
Lithuania is a very important destination for Estonian direct investments. As of 31.03.2017, investments made in Lithuania totalled 1.3 billion euros, or 20.7% of all direct investments. Lithuania was thereby ranked as Estonia's second direct investment destination by volume after Cyprus.
The main sectors are: real estate activities (19%), finance and insurance (17%), manufacturing (15%) and supply of electricity (13%).
Lithuania’s direct investments in Estonia as of 31.03.2017 totalled 696 million euros, which makes up 3.8% of all foreign direct investments in Estonia. Lithuania ranked on fourth place among countries investing in Estonia.
The main sectors are: professional, scientific and technical activities (42%), wholesale and retail trade (33%), finance, insurance (14%). According to the Commercial Register, as of May 2, 2017, 900 Lithuanian owned companies were regisered in Estonia.
Change in the position of foreign direct investments
|Unit: min euros||31.12.2013||31.12.2014||31.12.2015||31.12.2016||31.03.2017|
|FDI in Estonia||16 009,0||17 041,1||17 462,3||18 373,6||18 412,5|
|FDI abroad||4984,4||5 162,7||5 656,5||6 238,3||6 320,6|
|Lithuania||1 048,0||1 038,5||1 290,5||1 276,9||1 308,1|
In 2009 the Estonian-Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce was established in Vilnius (www.estcham.lt), with the goal of ensuring better information exchange among Estonian companies in Lithuania and representing and protecting the interests of its members. The Estonian-Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce offers many services such as market research, help in finding partners, etc. The Chamber also organises meetings with Lithuanian entrepreneurs and seminars for companies.
During the recent years the number of Lithuanian tourists has gradually increased. In 2016 around 61 000 Lithuanina tourists were accommodated in Estonia (3% of all foreign tourists). According to the data retrieved by the Estonian Bank mobile positioning, the number of Lithuanian residents has also increased who stay in Estonia more than one day. In 2016 it totalled 82 100 (the number of Estonia residents during the same period amounted to 126 000).
The defence co-operation takes place in the so-called Baltic format (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), based on the agreement concluded by the defence minister on February 12, 1995.
Trilaterally several joint projects have been initiated, of which some have continued until the present and some have been terminated upon the achievement of their goals (BALTBAT, BALTSEA).
At present, the most important cooperation formats are NATO Baltic air policing, BALTDEFCOL, BALTBAT and joint participation in exercises.
Cultural and educational cooperation
The cultural co-operation between three Baltic states is based upon inter-ministerial trilateral agreement of co-operation which was signed in 1994. This is the basis for more detailed co-operation programs for 3 up to 4 years. The current program of co-operation for the time period of 2015 – 2018 was signed in 2014 in Tallinn. The next program is scheduled to be signed in 2018 in Vilnius. The Estonia Ministry of Culture has excellent co-operation with the relevant ministries in Vilnius and in Riga and the trilateral meetings are organized on regular basis. The embassies in Vilnius and Tallinn actively help to introduce the culture of their nations to others. More detailed overview of the past cultural events can be found at the website of the Estonian Embassy in Vilnius (www.estemb.lt and also in its Facebook account: www.facebook.com/estemb.vilnius).
In 2018 several important cultural events will be organized to celebrate the Estonian and Lithuanian 100th anniversary. The Estonian National Male Choir will perform together with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra in January 2018 and the concerts will take place in Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipeda. They will perform the compositions of Erkki-Sven Tüür and Juste Janulyte. In April 2018 the same repertoire will be performed in Estonia. The Estonian National Opera will exchange stage with the Lithuanian National Opera. In May 2018 the Estonian National Opera will have three performances in Vilnius, in June 2018 the Lithuanian National Opera in turn will have three performances in Estonia. In 2018, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will be the featured guests at London Book Fair. In Spring 2018 the exhibition „Symbolism of the Baltic States“ will be opened at Orsay Museum in Paris.
There is also the Estonian Community in Lithuania the activities of which are directed towards preservation of Estonian customs and traditions, presenting Estonian culture, celebrating together Estonia-related holidays (Independence Day, Midsummer Night, Christmas). Also attention is paid to cherishing the Estonian language. There is a dominical school, where 10-14 children are taught of Estonian language and culture.
On March 30, 2012 the Latvian and Lithuanian languages auditorium and a cabinet-library were opened at the College of Foreign Languages and Cultures at Tartu University. Since 2004 Estonian language has been taught as a combined specialty (Lithuanian and Estonian languages) at Vilnius University. In 2008 the first course of philologists who were specialized in Estonian language graduated from Vilnius University.
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