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France and Lithuania

Political relations

Bilateral relations between France and Lithuania are strong and there is regular political dialogue. In November 2016, the foreign ministers of both countries endorsed an updated roadmap for the Bilateral Strategic Partnership signed in 2009. In July 2013, the Ministers of Defence signed a military cooperation agreement. France supports the air policing mission in the Baltic States under NATO and has carried out six successive rotations from the bases at Šiauliai in Lithuania and Åmari in Estonia.

France and Lithuania exchange officers in training between the Vilnius Military Academy and the St Cyr Coëtquidan Military Schools. The Lithuanian Air Force sends its staff to France for training at the Analysis and Simulation Centre for Air Operations (CASPOA) and the Air Defence and Control Training Centre (CICDA), which train air operation specialists and military controllers. Since 2013, France has seconded a high-ranking officer to the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence in Vilnius. From January to August 2018, a French combined arms battlegroup was deployed to Lithuania as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP).

Visits

In May 1992, President François Mitterrand was the first Western leader to visit Lithuania following the re-establishment of diplomatic relations. President Jacques Chirac made an official visit in 2001. President Dalia Grybauskaitė was received at the Élysée Palace by the French President in September 2009. Prime Minister François Fillon visited Vilnius in September 2011.

On 16 November 2016, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault welcomed his Lithuanian counterpart, Linas Linkevičius, as part of the celebrations for the 25ᵗʰ anniversary of France’s re-establishment of diplomatic relations with the Baltic States organized at the Quai d’Orsay building. On 9 April 2018, President Emmanuel Macron received his Lithuanian counterpart, Dalia Grybauskaitė, for the celebration of the centenary Lithuania’s re-establishment and the inauguration of the Symbolism in the Baltic States exhibition organized by the Musée d’Orsay.

Economic relations

France is the 13th-largest investor in Lithuania (€497.6 million at the end of 2017). Some 40 French-owned companies are present in Lithuania, employing some 2,700 people. They include Veolia, JC Decaux, Roquette Frères, Consolis, Atos, Coface, Ipsen, Servier, Total, Schneider and Accor.

In 2017, France was Lithuania’s 8ᵗʰ-largest supplier and 14ᵗʰ-largest customer. The volume of trade stood at €1.2 billion in 2017, with a trade deficit for France (€63.8 million) down by half compared to 2016.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Lithuania has been an observer member of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) since 1999. In 2012, the country signed an a partnership agreement with the IOF on training in French for its diplomats and public servants. French is the fourth most widely taught foreign language and pupil numbers at the Lycée International Français in Vilnius are growing steadily.

University partnerships in the fields of law and political science with Romeris University and the University of Vilnius are developing. Joint degrees have been created with Bordeaux IV University and Savoie Mont Blanc University. Scientific cooperation is notably supported by the “Gilibert” integrated actions programme based on fields of excellence in Lithuania (physics, chemistry and biochemistry).

Cultural cooperation is extensive, with the “Winter Screens” film festival, a partnership with the city hall and the University of Klaipeda in the areas of contemporary dance, cinema and memorial events, and the “New Outlooks on Today’s World” ideas debating programme.

In 2018, Lithuania’s independence centenary was celebrated jointly both in Lithuania and France. A Symbolism in the Baltic States exhibition was held at the Musée d’Orsay from 10 April to 15 July 2018.

  • Ambassador of France in Vilnius: Ms Claire Lignières-Counathe (September 2018)
  • Ambassador of Lithuania in Paris: Mr Dalius Čekuolis (2014)
  • Chair of the France-Lithuania Friendship Group at the French National Assembly: Mr Vincent Rolland
  • President of the France-Baltic States Friendship Group in the Senate: Mr Olivier Henno

Updated: 22 January 2019