I accepted my assignment as Lithuania‘s Ambassador to Finland with great enthusiasm, as it represented the opportunity to return to a country where I had already worked 10 years prior as the Lithuanian Embassy‘s Counsellor for Economic Affairs. Old friends and partners from “Donelaitis Seura”, the Lithuanian-Finnish Trade Association, and the broader Lithuanian-Finnish community enabled me to quickly adapt and seamlessly begin my tenure as Ambassador.
In evaluating Lithuanian-Finnish relations in the period 2011-2016, I would emphasize the successful development of our countries’ economic ties, continuously growing Finnish tourist flows to Lithuania, and our bilateral political cooperation in resolving regional and EU issues.
The foundation for our countries’ cordial relations was supported by the very close professional relationship between our Presidents - H.E. Dalia Grybauskaitė and H.E. Tarja Halonen. I also had the honour to accompany Finnish President H.E. Sauli Niinistö on a state visit to Lithuania during which he participated in the ceremonial opening of the Fortum Cogeneration Plant in Klaipėda, one of the largest foreign direct investments in Lithuania at the time.
2013 was a special year during my tenure because it was the year of Lithuania‘s Presidency of the European Union. As the Embassy of a Presiding EU state, we had the opportunity to host many different receptions and cultural events, subsequently receiving an unprecedented amount of attention from Finnish media. Among the events we helped organize were Jonas Mekas’ audio-visual exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma as well as a photography exhibition called “Lithuania in Action” at the Helsinki City Hall.
During my tenure as Ambassador, we also relocated our Embassy offices from Rauhankatu to Pohjoisranta. Although this relocation period coincided with preparations for Lithuania‘s EU Presidency we were able to find a new space and create a new representative and functional Embassy.
Over the course of two diplomatic assignments, I spent a total of 9 years in Finland and met many warm and friendly people. The professional and personal relationships formed during this period persist to this day. I am very fortunate and grateful to have had the opportunity to foster cordial bilateral relations between Finland and Lithuania, strengthening stability and safety in our region.