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Address by H.E. Valdas Adamkus, President of the Republic of Lithuania,at the Swedish Business Awards Ceremony

 

Distinguished Members of the Business Community,
Ladies and Gentlemen!

 

I am delighted and privileged to be part of the Swedish Business Awards event which has already become a well-established tradition. Its importance is further underlined by Sweden's growing direct investments in Lithuania, now amounting to more than 1.5 billion euros - which puts Sweden on top of Lithuania's list of foreign direct investors. I am pleased to address the distinguished audience gathered here today and at the same to take the opportunity to thank the organizers of this exclusive event - the Embassy of Sweden and the Swedish Trade Council in Lithuania - for bringing together the people of enterprise and determination, all those who promote modern technologies, use innovation-based business models and contribute in a significant way to strengthening the economy of our region.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

We are members of the EU single market. It has given us real benefits, broadened our economic horizons and opportunities. I would say that the present economic slowdown will make us re-evaluate the advantages offered by the common market and by such countries like Lithuania. I have in mind here not only Lithuania's geographic location, but also our hard-working and highly qualified people and Lithuania's openness to foreign investments. I invite you to think about it once again and take advantage of our business environment.

We seek to be among the first countries back on the track of economic growth, ready to continue our race toward EU economic standards. However, we well understand that this will be possible only if we retain Lithuania's financial stability and attract many more business people willing to work and invest in Lithuania. It is only through streamlined business efforts to realize its objectives and meet the changing market needs that we can expect to achieve economic recovery.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

This year, the Swedish Business Awards focuses on global changes in the business climate and on global climate change. All of us know that Lithuania and Sweden are closely connected to the global economy and are directly affected by its changes. Economic development is strongly dependent on energy prices and energy supplies, which in their turn have a significant impact on what is happening in the environment and its trends. We all agree that depleting traditional energy resources, our growing addiction to oil and gas, dependency on a single or unpredictable source of imports, fluctuating energy prices, climate change - all of these have a significant impact not only on every country and every individual, but also on business. If not addressed properly, these challenges threaten our internal politics, well-being and security, and undermine international stability. It is evident that regional challenges demand a collective and coordinated regional response.

 

The energy situation in Lithuania and other Baltic countries is determined by both geographical and historical circumstances. We are well aware of climate change and growing energy supply challenges that calls to improve energy efficiency and to better use of renewable resources and compel us to pursue other energy generation options. One of such alternatives is further development of nuclear power because we believe that a rapidly growing region needs to have a large-scale energy source. However, the first and foremost condition for energy efficiency is real competition between energy suppliers. In this context, I cannot but mention the most important joint project of Lithuania and Sweden, or to be more precise a project launched together by the Baltic States and Scandinavian countries: the electricity bridge which will connect our countries and create a common power market in the region.

 

Through my presidency, I have strongly supported this project which I firmly believe is an essential precondition for a secure and competitive energy sector in the Baltic States.

 

I am deeply convinced that we have to concentrate our attention and investments on research to reduce the costs of alternative energy sources, on infrastructure projects to integrate better our markets and make prices more competitive, and on new financial instruments to improve energy saving and quality of life.

 

I honestly believe that you, representatives of the business community who have always been flexible in your approach to new economic realities and challenges, will be the driving force behind success and competition in local and foreign markets. I believe in your enterprising skills and spirit and I am sure that the present economic situation will inspire your creative talent, which will manifest itself in the successful development of your businesses.

H.E. Mr. Valdas Adamkus, President of the Republic of Lithuania

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