Irish president: Ireland seeking closer ties with Nordic, Baltic countries

Irish President Michael D. Higgins met with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė in Vilnius on Tuesday. 19 June, 2018. Source: Irmantas Gelūnas/Scanpix

As the UK is set to leave the EU, Ireland is seeking closer ties with the Baltic and Nordic countries, Irish President Michael D. Higgins said in Vilnius on Tuesday.

"I think the importance of the Baltic-Nordic relationship to Ireland in new circumstances in which we find ourselves will be ever more important," Higgins said, addressing the Irish community in Vilnius.

Ireland's diplomatic rapprochement has been felt for some time already as the Irish prime minister and his Dutch counterpart for the first time last year joined the traditional meeting of the leaders of the six Baltic and Nordic countries to coordinate their positions ahead of a European Council meeting.

Lithuanian officials believe that such meetings will be repeated as the countries' positions on many issues match, since they want to keep the EU's close ties with Britain, are in favor of free trade and also seek increased EU agricultural funding.

"Naturally, there are many more of those links than we had before," Nerijus Aleksiejūnas, an adviser to Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė, told BNS Lithuania. "Can it evolve into a new format? Time will tell. Interests themselves should lead us to the creation ofa new format now."

Irish president not to visit Estonia

Higgins visited Latvia on Monday, and is currently on a two-day visit in Lithuania in honor of the Baltic countries' respective centennials.

According to the Irish Embassy in Tallinn, the Irish president will not be visiting Estonia on this trip due to Higgins' and President Kersti Kaljulaid's conflicting schedules.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS, ERR

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