THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA
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Have Lithuanian ties across the
Baltic Sea become
By Eitvydas Bajarūnas
Lithuanian Ambassador to Sweden
The two decades that have passed since regaining Lithuania‘s independence can be described as a “building boom”. From the wreckage of a captive Soviet republic, a generation of Lithuanians have built a modern European
Since the restoration of Lithuania’s independence 25 years ago, we have continuously felt a strong support from Nordic countries.
Lithuania took advantage of it very successfully because we soon realized that the assistance and support of the Nordic Countries could help us to play more a significant role in the European and transatlantic space as well as help us solve problems that were urgent for us and the entire region. Nordics, especially – Sweden, became the largest investors in Lithuania, not to mention their financial support for our states’ civil societies,
Several public opinion polls pointed out that Lithuanians believe Lithuania should be associated with the region of Northern Europe, and not with Eastern Europe. Northern orientation dominated in the cases of Estonia and Latvia as well. Orientation towards the North was even proposed by a foreign company that consulted the Government of Lithuania some years ago on image creation issues: in terms of economy Lithuania had rather be associated with the stable, advanced, socially responsible Nordic Countries than the post-soviet space.
Indeed, Lithuania benefits being part of the wider Nordic-Baltic region. Over the last several decades, the Nordic-Baltic region has most probably undergone the greatest transformation. Lithuania developed into a country, associated with economic and fiscal stability, high-level political integration, advanced technologies and high living standards. Extensive and broad cooperation between the countries in the region played a crucial role. The idea that the countries of the region are competitive and economically stable has also been proved by the fact that Nordic Countries have been only slightly affected by the economic and financial crisis that began in 2008, and
The Nordic Baltic Eight (NB8, for short) – consisting of Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden – has become a political institution that mirrors the emerging trans-Baltic regional identity. Under the NB8 umbrella, meetings on the ministerial level are now held on a regular basis. Within the European Union context,
Therefore we can talk with a confidence of a “Nordic-Baltic” community, or as the pre-war Lithuanian scientist Kazys Pakštas named it, the “Baltic-Scandic” community. One could only
Recently Lithuania was hosting State visit of Swedish Royal couple. It was symbolic that the main theme of Their Majesties’ visit to Lithuania was “The Baltic Sea unites us”. The sea which used to separate Nordic and Baltic people is now uniting us through numerous political, energy, cultural, research, business, and people-to-people ties. Indeed, we Nordics and Baltics are bound by common values, traditions and culture. The Midsummer celebration – known as Joninės in Lithuania – is the best proof of this. It has become a much-awaited community event in Lithuania, just like in other Nordic and Baltic states, highlighting the strong links between our nations.
But we not only remembering our
True, the Baltic States still have to emulate Nordic countries, which amaze the world by being at the very top of the “Human Development” index and have not been surpassed in terms of living standard. Nordic Countries are one of the most successful regions of the world when estimating not only the quality of living but also the social environment and work culture. Nordic Countries are also leading countries in the field of innovation, high
While much remains to be accomplished, the remarkable achievements of the past twenty years are a testament that Nordic-Baltic region moving to the right direction. Wish us good luck.
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