Minister Thomas Byrne to Visit Lithuania
Press release27 October 2021
Minister for European Affairs Thomas Byrne T.D. will visit Lithuania from 27-28 October. The visit is taking place on the occasion of the 30th anniversary year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Ireland and Lithuania.
Speaking in advance of the visit, Minister Byrne noted “Solidarity and unity of purpose remain of vital importance, especially for smaller EU Member States such as our own. For our part, we are most grateful to Lithuania for the solidarity and friendship shown to Ireland in recent years, including in relation to the Brexit negotiations.”
The Minister will meet with the European Affairs Committee and other parliamentarians at the Seimas (Parliament) and will also meet with Vice Minister of European Affairs, Arnoldas Pranckevičius. Topics for discussion throughout the visit include Rule of Law, the current situation with Covid-19, migration and EU-UK relations. The Minister and Vice Minister Pranckevičius will also speak to Lithuanian students on the Future of Europe.
Minister Byrne will visit to Lithuanian-Belarusian border, accompanied by Vice-minister Pranckevičius, to assess the situation on the border and to hear about the on-going humanitarian work by the Lithuanian Red Cross. Ireland has provided €100,000 to the Lithuanian Red Cross to help the migrants moved by Belarus into Lithuania’s border region.
During the visit, Minister Byrne will meet with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Belarussian opposition leader and candidate during the August 2020 Presidential elections currently exiled in Vilnius. In the aftermath of the election, Ms Tsikhanouskaya established the opposition Coordination Council, which received the 2020 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament and was one of the Chernobyl Children receiving respite in Ireland during the 1990s.