Zagreb - Lithuania supports Croatia's forthcoming admission to the European Union and regards Croatia as an important example for other countries in the region and considers its entry into the European family as an encouragement to other countries, the Speaker of Lithuania's Seimas (parliament), Vydas Gedvilas, said in Zagreb on Tuesday after meeting his Croatian counterpart Josip Leko.
We are glad and we support Croatia's coming EU membership. Lithuania assumes the EU presidency on 1 July, which coincides with Croatia's entry into the EU and we congratulate you, the Lithuanian official said. He praised Croatia for having set an important model for other Western Balkan countries and expressed hope that Croatia would actively participate in the development of regional cooperation. In its capacity as the next EU chair, Lithuania is attaching great importance to Croatia's integration into the EU institutional structures and is ready to share its experience with Zagreb in this regard, Gedvilas told reporters.
The visiting Lithuanian parliament speaker said he was sure that Croatia's EU membership would contribute to the development of the relations between Croatia and his country. On Monday, Gedvilas and Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Vesna Pusic formally opened the office of the Lithuanian Embassy in Zagreb. The office is situated within the premises of the Finnish Embassy in the Croatian capital. During today's talks Leko and Gedvilas discussed possibilities for Croatia to open its resident embassy in Vilnius and for Lithuania to do the same in Zagreb.
Leko told the press that Croatia and Lithuania had mutual interest in appearing together in EU bodies. Croatia supports plans of the Lithuanian EU presidency: development of Eastern Partnership, a joint energy policy of the Union and backing the prospects of the Union's enlargement to include other southeastern European countries, he added. Leko accepted the invitation to visit Vilnius on 4 July on the occasion of the beginning of Lithuania's six-month rotating presidency over the EU. Later in the day, Gedvilas is to be received by President Ivo Josipović. (Hina)