The Slovenia Times

Mutual understanding stressed as Lithuanian president visits


The two presidents also discussed the refugee crisis, cooperation within NATO and the potential of Brexit.

Pahor noted at a press conference that the two presidents had exchanged decorations before the meeting in order to acknowledge the mutual efforts of the two nations to exercise the right to self-determination in the 1990s.

According to Pahor, this created a "strong bond" between the peoples of Slovenia and Lithuania. "Me and the president will make an effort that this is kept this way," the Slovenian president added, noting that the political relations were free from open issues.

Grybauskaite thanked Pahor for the invitation to her first visit to Slovenia, stressing that Slovenia and Lithuania had kept supporting each other in all international organisations, in the EU and NATO.

The Lithuanian president said that the countries' positions on security threats were very close, which was important in the light of the preparations for the NATO summit in Warsaw in July.

"It is very good that our nations still understand each other, that our positions on all issues are very similar and that we are able to coordinate our positions and our decision-making," Grybauskaite added.

The presidents also touched on the refugee crisis, with Grybauskaite stressing that Lithuania too was affected, as new routes were being opened through Russia. "The pressure on Norway and on the Finnish border is already huge."

Pahor meanwhile discussed the recent protests against accommodating refugees in Slovenia, saying that while protesters had the right to express their opinions, they should do it without insulting anyone or resorting to violence.

Asked about Lithuania's wish to boost NATO presence in the Baltic Sea, the Slovenian president said that Slovenia understood the concern of the Baltic countries regarding possible threats coming from their neighbourhood.

"I understand that because of the events in Ukraine and other processes in the neighbourhood of the Baltic countries that this concern is growing stronger," Pahor added.

Meanwhile, Grybauskaite commented on what the potential of the UK leaving the EU would mean for other members, saying that it would not affect other countries as the UK was already a specific member with a number of opt-outs.

The Lithuanian president believes that the UK could not be an "example for other countries" because the reasons for a potential Brexit were much different from the reasons why others would leave the union.

Pahor on the other hand warned that if member states continue to negotiate for "separate statuses within the EU", the bloc as he would like to see it would be hampered, thus having "less Europe rather than more Europe".

"A less connected Europe is fertile soil for a victory of political forces which in an end of Europe actually see its beginning. We don't want this," the Slovenian president concluded.

The visit by Grybauskaite is being held as part of the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of Slovenia's independence as Lithuania was the second country to recognise Slovenia as an independent country.

On the first day of her two-day official visit, Lithuanian president will also be hosted by PM Miro Cerar over working lunch, as well as by Speaker Milan Brglez. She is also due to meet Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković.


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