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Address by President Valdas Adamkus, at the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania

Madam President,
Mr. Prime Minister,
Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania,
Distinguished Ministers,
Dear People of Lithuania,

Today is a very important and festive day for Lithuania. The term of one president ends and a new president-elect will soon take the oath. The State will open a new page of its history.


Several days ago we celebrated the Day of the Coronation of King Mindaugas and the Millennium of Lithuania. It was an opportunity to have a closer look at our history, its most significant dates and personalities, to exchange ideas about the ways in which our nation and the State have arrived the present day and about future prospects.


Therefore, while the beginning of Dalia Grybauskaitė's presidency is viewed as a certain threshold in political life, a promising a time of change, we should not forget continuity. And, first and foremost, the continuity of reforms.


Over the recent years, Lithuania has achieved a great deal in its foreign policy.

The consistency and continuity of the chosen course have proved to be greatly important.


Speaking about the present-day Lithuania and its foreign policy, I have said before that in the eyes of Europe and the world Lithuania looks much better than we see it ourselves. Indeed, you sometimes get an impression that our foreign partners and visitors to this country respect us more than we - the citizens of Lithuania - respect one another.


Clearly, people have different visions of Lithuania, and it will always be like that. However, different vectors of Lithuania's future should be combined or reconciled rather than opposed to one another. Yes, it is true that we are weighed down by a multitude of problems and concerns.

Today again, in the face of serious difficulties, Lithuania has to replicate its historical fate - within a few decades of freedom it must achieve what free nations have achieved throughout centuries. But at no other time and in no other country was well-being created by self-contempt, aggression and mistrust, disrespect for the self and the nation, and division of the State.


Therefore, we should think of Lithuania as a value to be cherished, a value which is indivisible, which cannot be atomized and split into two or more polarized Lithuanias. It has always been my goal to avoid several Lithuanias that mistrust one another.


Lithuania is one, and only thus united and unfragmented it can overcome all challenges, become a safe and attractive country, able to retain its hard-working and creative people. We experienced this sense of unity on July 6th when celebrating the Millennium of Lithuania and singing the national anthem together with all the Lithuanians of the world.


It has always been my desire that all that is the best in Lithuania should become a norm and that the State should support the drive and creativity of its people, their capacity to quickly adapt to new conditions. And at the same time to help those who are in need.


It is often said that politics grounded on the values of freedom and democracy are unpragmatic, that such politics hinders problem-solving in economic and energy sectors. Following this logic, we should admit that the establishment of the State of Lithuania and its restoration on February 16th and March 11th were the most unpragmatic things to do.


Paradoxical as it may sound, but probably almost all of Lithuania's attempts to pursue Realpolitik ended in historical failure, whereas movements fuelled by idealism sooner or later led to freedom and well-being. These historical lessons lead to a simple conclusion: Lithuania will be strong as long as it adheres to true values or seeks compromises only when it is in its own interest to do so.

It has always been like that and it will be like that in the future.


I have no doubt that President Dalia Grybauskaitė will also be guided by these principles. I believe that the people will always back the new Lithuanian leader in her most demanding work and I earnestly call on all fellow-citizens to take an active part in shaping their own destiny. Do not be indifferent to the destiny of your nation and your state. Have confidence and trust in each other, have confidence and trust in your state and in your Lithuania.


I sincerely wish the Lithuanian President the best of success in her endeavors. I am truly grateful to the Lithuanian people for the feeling of spiritual warmth that has always accompanied me. I express my sincere gratitude, and, with my all heart, I remain with the people and our state.

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


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