Lithuania is the most southerly of the three Baltic states and this year celebrates the centenary of the restoration of its independence. Lithuania became an EU member state and NATO member in 2004 and joined the eurozone in 2015. Lithuania and Switzerland enjoy a close and constructive relationship. Through its enlargement contribution, Switzerland has supported eight projects in Lithuania, including a programme to improve healthcare for mothers and children, which has been particularly successful. The programme supplied modern medical equipment to 27 hospitals, with training in the use of the equipment provided to 2,300 healthcare workers. This has led to a significant decline in the infant mortality rate. A hospital partnership with the Geneva University Hospitals was established within the framework of this programme and Swiss companies received contracts amounting to a total of CHF 2.3 million.
At the bilateral meeting, Mr Cassis and Mr Linkevičius highlighted the potential for consolidating the close ties between their two countries, for example in the economic sphere. They also explored the scope for increased cooperation on vocational education and training as well as healthcare.
In terms of Switzerland’s contribution, the Federal Council Dispatch on a second Swiss contribution to selected EU member states, including Lithuania, was approved on 28 September 2018. The Federal Council also aims, in future, to leverage Swiss expertise to reduce economic and social disparities and to manage migration better in selected EU member states. It is now for Parliament to make a decision regarding the relevant framework credits.
During their meeting in Bern, Mr Cassis and Mr Linkevičius also touched on security issues, including threats posed by cyber attacks. Switzerland is committed to ensuring an open, free and secure cyberspace, which includes promoting International Geneva as a platform for dialogue.
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