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Lithuania

(last updated: 29.06.2018)

Estonia and Lithuania exchanged diplomatic representatives already in 1919. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were restored on 22 August 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 31 August 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.

Estonia has presently two honorary consuls in Lithuania. Ms Žaneta Simanavičienė resides in Kaunas and her consular area includes Kaunas, Marijampolė and Alytus counties, while Mr Gintaras Sluckus covers Siauliai, Panevėžys and Utena counties from Šiauliai.

In the current Riigikogu, there is an Estonia-Lithuania parliamentary group which is led by Aivar Sõerd and has 7 members.

 

Visits

To Lithuania
June 2018 Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Kadri Simson on a working visit
May 2018 Minister of the Environment Siim Kiisler at the meeting of Baltic Ministers of Environment
May 2018 Minister of Defence Jüri Luik at the meeting of Baltic Defence Ministers
May 2018 Vice-President of Riigikogu Enn Eesmaa at the Estonia 100 Celebrations
April 2018 Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Kadri Simson on a working visit
March 2018 Prime Minister Jüri Ratas at the meeting of Baltic and Polish Prime Ministers
February 2018 President Kersti Kaljulaid at the Lithuania 100 Celebrations
January 2018 Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser and Minister of Defence Jüri Luik at the Snow Meeting
June 2017 Prime Minister Jüri Ratas for the meeting of Baltic Prime Ministers
January 2017 Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser on a working visit
October 2016 President Kersti Kaljulaid on a working visit
October 2016 Minister of Foreign Affairs Jürgen Ligi on a working visit
Septenber 2016 Minister of Culture Indrek Saar on a working visit
To Estonia
June 2018 Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis at the 9th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR
April 2018 President of the Parliament Viktoras Pranckietis at the meeting of the EU parliaments’ representatives in Tallinn
November 2017 President of the Parliament Viktoras Pranckietis at the Baltic Council in Tallinn
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 Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius for Lennart Meri conference

 

Bilateral relations

Estonia and Lithuania as regional neighbours have established long-standing ties and partnerships in many areas. Their bilateral relations are based on similar foreign policy priorities, as a result of which close cooperation and active communication takes place on various levels. Both countries also participate in regular meetings in the framework of Baltic (Baltic Council of Ministers, Baltic Assembly, Baltic Council) and Nordic-Baltic (NB8) cooperation.

DEFENCE COOPERATION

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.

 

Agreements

Bilateral relations between Estonia and Lithuania, primarily economic relations, are regulated by EU internal market rules as of 1 May 2004.

An overview of agreements signed between Estonia and Lithuania:

  • 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 relations

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.

TRADE

Estonia-Lithuania trade 2012-2017 (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%
2016 1988.5 7.8% 713.9 6.0% 1 274.5 9.4%
2017 2131.7 7.7% 749.1 5.9% 1382.6 9.4%

Data: Statistics Estonia
Import calculated according to country of shipment

The trade between Estonia and Lithuania has increased to over two billions euros (in 2017 it made up to 7.7% 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 (5.9%  of the total export). In 2017 the import continued to increase, as a result of which Lithuania places the third import partner for Estonia.

Primary articles of export in 2017:

  • Vehicles, transport equipment –21%
  • Machinery and mechanical appliances – 14%
  • Chemical products – 10%

Primary articles of import in 2017:

  • Mineral products – 31 %
  • Chemical products – 15%
  • Machinery and mechanical appliances – 14%

INVESTMENTS

Lithuania is a very important destination for Estonian direct investments. As of 31.12.2017, investments made in Lithuania totalled 1.3 billion euros, or 23.3% of all direct investments. Lithuania was thereby ranked as Estonia's second direct investment destination by volume.
The main sectors are: the supply of electricity, finance and insurance and real estate activities.

Lithuania’s direct investments in Estonia as of 31.12.2017 totalled 772,8 million euros, which makes up 3.7% of all foreign direct investments in Estonia. Lithuania ranked on fourth place among countries investing in Estonia.
The main sectors are: wholesale and retail trade, professional, scientific and technical activities, finance and insurance.

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.

TOURISM

During the recent years the number of Lithuanian tourists has gradually increased. In 2017, 64 369 Lithuanian tourists were accommodated in Estonia. 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 2017, it totalled 85 385. Visits to Lithuania by Estonian residents have also grown, from 125 101 in 2015 to 127 389 in 2017.

 

Cultural relations

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 multiannual co-operation programs. 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 also 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 take place to celebrate the Estonian and Lithuanian 100th anniversary. The Estonian National Male Choir performed together with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra in January 2018 with the concerts  in Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipeda. In April 2018 the same repertoire was presented in Estonia. The Estonian National Opera will exchange stage with the Lithuanian National Opera. In May 2018 the Estonian National Opera had three performances in Vilnius. In June 2018 the Lithuanian National Opera in turn will have three performances in Estonia. In 2018 spring three countries - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were the featured guests at London Book Fair. In 2018 the exhibition „Symbolism of the Baltic States“ was opened at Orsay Museum in Paris.

The Estonian Community living in Lithuania is also engaged into the bridge-building activities. While their main aim is towards preservation of Estonian customs, traditions and language, they also present Estonian culture and celebrate Estonia-related holidays (Independence Day, Midsummer Night, and Christmas) together. 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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