quinta-feira, 22 de julho de 2010

14/07/2010 - Address by H.E. Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania, at the Fourth Convention of Honorary Consuls of Lithuania

Distinguished Honorary Consuls, Dear Friends of Lithuania!

This is the fourth convention which has brought you together in Vilnius. I know that for you such meetings are intensive working sessions: you not only exchange information about the work done, but share ideas and inspiration for fresh initiatives. I would say that this is the best time for new beginnings.

The economic difficulties that emerged in Europe have made Lithuania start doing its overdue homework of implementing reforms in social welfare, education, energy, and other areas. We should be proud that we are capable of dealing with our problems on our own and that our international partners value it by giving us higher ratings and more investments.

In great part, this is also the result of your work. In many cases, it is you the honorary consuls who inform our foreign partners about business and investment opportunities in Lithuania. I am sure that you will also share with them our most recent achievements: the introduction of market in the electricity sector, the passing of anti-corruption laws that make economic crimes more punishable, create a more transparent environment for local and foreign businesses.

It is no secret that the economic downturn has forced us to reduce the staff in some embassies. I am therefore happy and proud that we have you, our volunteer friends, who are strongly committed to keeping the interests of Lithuania and Lithuanian émigrés intact. Your personal initiative and dedication are greatly important and appreciated.

I believe that one person can make a difference and achieve many accomplishments. So even if you are the single representative of Lithuania in a large country, we need your work and your voice.

Many of you, even those without Lithuanian roots, maintain close contacts with Lithuanians residing in your country and with their organizations. I am grateful for your efforts and support to our fellow Lithuanians.

I have no doubt that you will continue to contribute in a major way to strengthening cultural ties between Lithuanians and other nations, which will help preserve our national identity in far-away corners of the world.

When you gather to such conventions or when you work with Lithuanian institutions and non-governmental organizations, you are introduced to many different ideas about presenting Lithuania, its culture, the economy, education, and investment projects to the world.

I know no one can tell better than you which of the proposed projects is the most effective and what action should be taken to promote Lithuania.

Distinguished Honorary Consuls! There are 166 of you around the world, while Lithuania has only over forty embassies abroad. It means that you represent Lithuania more broadly and that your contacts are wider spread.

You can give advice to Lithuanian diplomats on how to establish stronger political, economic and social ties with prominent and influential people of your country and how to make Lithuania visible and well heard.

You have Lithuania's full confidence and we know that you work very hard. As I say thank-you for your efforts and devotion.

You are men and women of vision and commitment who understand the word "honorary" not as a mark of distinction but as personal responsibility and dedication.

I wish you fruitful discussions and further determination to act on behalf of Lithuania abroad.

Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania

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