Paula Lehtomäki, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, attended a remote meeting with Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė to discuss co-operation between the Nordic countries and Lithuania in the fields of education, digitization, green transition and democracy support in Belarus.
The main focus of the conversation was to discuss the priorities of the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Government of Lithuania and to identify common goals. The priorities of the Nordic Council of Ministers are reflected in Vision 2030, where social sustainability, competitiveness and green transition of our societies are determined as the main directions for the organizations’ future activities.
The issue of strengthening education was discussed and identified as one of the common goals. I. Šimonytė named the education quality development and equal opportunities for children as one of the highest priorities of the current government. The initiative of the Nordic Council of Ministers to implement the NordEd project together with the Nordic missions in Lithuania is aimed at initiating changes in the field of education, strengthening cooperation between experts and sharing good practices of the Nordic and Lithuanian education systems.
During the meeting, both sides mentioned digitization as an area where small countries have the opportunity to become leaders in global arena. Digitization cooperation between the Baltic and Nordic countries is established in 2017 agreement signed by the ministers from the Nordic and Baltic regions as a declaration, by which they committed to step up their digitalisation efforts – not only within the countries, but also across borders.
During the meeting, both parties emphasized the important contribution of Lithuania and the Nordic Council of Ministers to the development of democracy in Belarus. Lithuania and the Nordic countries are sympathetic to supporting Belarusian civil society and the independent media.
Mr Lehtomäki mentioned that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Lithuania. After Lithuania regained its independence, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ support for Lithuania was expressed shortly after the January events with the establishment of an office in Lithuania, which significantly contributed to Lithuanian-Nordic co-operation in the cultural, public and non-governmental sectors. The participants of the meeting agreed that this is a beautiful opportunity to mark and meet in person as soon as opportunities allow.