France and Lithuania have extensive bilateral relations and hold regular political dialogue. In September 2020, the foreign ministers of both countries endorsed an updated roadmap for the Bilateral Strategic Partnership signed in 2009. In July 2013, their defence ministers signed a military cooperation agreement. Since 2007, France has participated in the NATO air policing mission in the Baltic States and has carried out ten successive rotations from the bases at Šiauliai in Lithuania and Åmari in Estonia.
France and Lithuania take part in officer exchange programmes at 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. A French combined arms battlegroup was deployed to Rukla, Lithuania as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) from January to August 2018, then from July to December 2020.
- French Embassy website
- French Embassy twitter: @FranceLituanie
- French community: 781 French nationals registered
- Lithuanian community in France: approximately 3,000
France and Lithuania have regular bilateral political contact about the European agenda, international topics and economic issues.
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. On 9 April 2018, President Emmanuel Macron received Lithuania’s President 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. President Macron made an official visit to Lithuania on 27 and 28 September 2020. President Gitanas Nauseda met with President Macron at the Élysée Palace on 30 November 2021.
Foreign Minister Colonna made a working visit to Lithuania on 29 and 30 March 2023 where she met with the Lithuanian Prime Minister, Ingrida Šimonytė, and with the Lithuanian Foreign Minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis. She visited a military base in Šiauliai on which the French air detachment participating in the NATO air policing mission was deployed.
France is Lithuania’s 11th-largest supplier and 14th-largest customer. Since 2020, trade between France and Lithuania has grown. French exports and imports stand at €1.059 billion and €952 million respectively, which account for a respective increase of 27.6% and 24% compared with 2021. France has long had a trade deficit with Lithuania. The situation has improved in recent years and France has had a trade surplus since 2020. In 2022, this surplus stood at €21 million as a result of the considerable increase in our exports and their value (automotive sectors, pharmaceutical products, wines and spirits, air and space manufacturing). In 2022, the main French imports were fertilizers (€216.3 million), furniture (€ 175.4 million) and timber (€83.5 million). Chemicals were the biggest imports accounting for 22.7% of total imports.
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.
Lithuania has been an observer member of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) since 1999. In 2012, the country signed a partnership agreement with the OIF on training in French for its diplomats and public servants. French is the fourth most widely taught foreign language and the number of pupils at the Lycée International Français in Vilnius is growing steadily.
University partnerships in the fields of law and political science with Romeris University and the University of Vilnius are being developed. Joint degrees have been created with Bordeaux IV University and Savoie Mont Blanc University. After the Belarus authorities closed the French-Belarusian Centre for European Studies (CFB) of Minsk in June 2021, it was transferred to Vilnius and a Bachelor’s programme in European International Law in conjunction with the University of Bordeaux was introduced.
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. A Lithuanian Culture Season will be held in France in autumn 2024.
In 2022, Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania, was one of the three European culture capitals. In this capacity, France conducted projects and made contributions to enhance the 2022 Kaunas programme.
Updated: May 2023