During the bilateral meeting, President Dalia Grybauskaitė and Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg discussed the perspectives of economic and energy cooperation between Lithuania and Norway, the importance of Nordic-Baltic cooperation, the topical issues of the NATO agenda, and the priorities of the Lithuanian presidency of the EU Council.
The President underlined that Norway is a strategic partner of Lithuania in seeking energy independence. The import of natural gas and electricity from Norway can serve significantly to reduce dependence on the single source of supply.
The President and the Prime Minister talked about the possibilities to import Norwegian natural gas and electricity generated at hydroelectric power plants in Norway.
"When we are no longer dependent on the single supplier, we will pay for gas and electricity the market prices, not the prices dictated by the monopolist. Norwegian natural gas and electricity is one of the possibilities to reduce dependence on Russia," the President said.
An alternative in natural gas supplies will be ensured for all three Baltic States by the LNG terminal which is being constructed in Klaipėda. The terminal is planned to start functioning next year. A special ship for the Klaipėda terminal will be built by the Norwegian Company Höegh LNG.
Having joined the Nordic power market Nord Pool Spot, Lithuania today is already importing Scandinavian electricity, including from Norway where, due to favorable climatic conditions, electricity generated at hydroelectric power plants is one of the cheapest in Northern Europe. Lithuania-Sweden power interconnection, which is to be completed in 2015, will open an opportunity to further increase Norwegian gas imports to Lithuania and exploit more rationally the Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant. The Norwegian gas is expected to account for up to 35 per cent of Scandinavian gas export volumes, considerably reducing imports from Russia.
The meeting with Norway's Prime Minister also addressed the perspectives of economic cooperation between the two countries. Norway is Lithuania's fifth largest investor and ranks 11th among its export markets. With Lithuanian economy growing rapidly, the interest in investment possibilities in our country is also increasing. Over 200 Norwegian companies are already operating in Lithuania, as well as Lithuanian-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce.
Norway also participates in the European Economic Area (EEA) grants programme under which, during a four-year period, it has already made available to Lithuania LTL 42.18 million for implementation of projects in health care, child care, cultural heritage, civil society, regional policy, research and other areas.
The conversation also touched upon Lithuania's OECD membership bid. Decision on this matter will be taken during Norway's chairmanship of this organization. President Dalia Grybauskaitė's visit in Oslo includes a meeting with the Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Ángel Gurría. OECD membership would serve to strengthen international confidence in Lithuania.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway plans to visit Lithuania in June.