President of Lithuania H.E. Ms. Dalia Grubauskaite delivering her remarks during the annual New Year’s meeting with Ambassadors accredited to the Republic of Lithuania


PHL envoy to Lithuania Ambassador Patricia Ann V. Paez with Papal Nuncio Bishop Pedro Lopez Quintana at the Presidential Palace during the annual New Year meeting with Lithuania’s President


Briefing on Lithuania’s FinTech industry at the Vilnius Tech Park;standing on the right is Mr. Marius Jurgilas, Member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania


Philippine envoy to Lithuania Ambassador Patricia Ann V. Paez attended the annual New Year meeting  of Lithuania’s President H.E. Dalia Grybauskaite with ambassadors accredited to Lithuania which was held at the Presidential Palace on 18 January 2017 in the City of Vilnius.

            Ambassador Paez availed herself of the opportunity to briefly apprise President Grybauskaite about issues of concern to Lithuania such as the Philippine position on the competing claims over the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea under the Duterte administration and reports on alleged extrajudicial killings (EJKs).

            The lady envoy informed Pres. Grubauskaite that the Philippines recently assumed chairmanship of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which is marking its 50th founding anniversary this year. Referring to Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay’s statement, Amb. Paez said that ASEAN is hopeful that the ASEAN-China Code of Conduct on the South China SEA will be concluded this year since the existing Declaration of Conduct on the South China Sea is non-binding. Amb. Paez said that the Philippines is committed to the rule of law and respect for human rights and that the government has, in fact, invited the UN Special Rapporteur to conduct an independent investigation over allegations of extrajudicial killings (EJKs), on the condition that President Duterte be accorded the right of reply over public television, precisely in the interest of  tranparency to ferret out the truth. She also informed Pres. Grubauskaite that Philippine Tourism Secretary Mrs. Wanda Teo has already agreed to Lithuania’s proposed bilateral cooperation agreement in the field of tourism

            In her remarks before the ambassadors during the New Year meeting, President Grybauskaite said that Lithuania’s priority for this year is “to consolidate its international achievements and take new steps to ensure security at home and in the region, as well as to boost economic competitiveness.” The major issues, among others, in Lithuania’s political agenda are the “intensive militarization at NATO’s border; growing disintegrative and populist moods, difficult negotiations over Brexit, the immigration crisis, and terrorism.”

    On the domestic economic front, Pres. Grybauskaite said that Lithuania’s GDP is projected to grow by 2.7% this year. She added that Lithuania will work to fulfill all the requirements for membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and its target date for membership is 2018.

            After the meeting with the President, the ambassadors proceeded to the Vilnius Tech Park where they were given a briefing about Lithuania’s fintech industry. Mr. Marius Jurgilas, Member of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania said that Lithuania decided in 2016 to transform the country into a hub for FinTech (financial technology) companies and has since then been attracting companies across the globe because of a forward-looking regulatory framework and competitive business environment.