Advisor to Lithuanian president: Solar energy can mark start of mutually beneficial cooperation with AzerbaijanJUNE 01, 2023
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev paid an official visit to Lithuania on May 21. During the meeting between President Ilham Aliyev and President of Lithuania Gitanas Nauseda, the sides discussed a number of important issues on cooperation in such areas as information technology, cybersecurity, renewable energy, etc. in an expanded format.
Partnership relations between Azerbaijan and Lithuania are reaching a new level, as cooperation in solar energy can mark the beginning of a new mutually beneficial cooperation between the countries, Adviser to the Lithuanian President Vaidas Augustinavičius said in an interview with Report.
How would you assess the level of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Lithuania at the moment? How do you think President Aliyev's expected visit to Lithuania will affect the development of bilateral relations?
The bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Lithuania are very dynamic. Last year, the President of the Republic of Lithuania, Gitanas Nausėda, and First Lady Diana Nausėdienė visited Azerbaijan together with an official business and education delegation. It was a very successful visit, with promising results affecting positively the development of bilateral cooperation. A year ago, the leaders of the two countries started meaningful discussions on bilateral cooperation and laid the foundations for the development of bilateral relations in many fields. This year, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva visited Vilnius with a large delegation, including business representatives. This visit created even more positive dynamics and perspectives for the relations between Lithuania and Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is and will stay an important partner of Lithuania, and the strategic interest remains the same - to further develop bilateral ties.
Could you comment on the protocol which is going to be signed to define practical directions for future cooperation between the two countries?
We are very glad about the intensive ties between the institutions of Azerbaijan and Lithuania – the number of agreements signed during the visit is the best confirmation of expanding relations between the two countries. Three agreements were signed in Vilnius:
- Agreement between the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania and the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Azerbaijan on cooperation in the field of environmental protection;
- Cooperation Programme between the Prosecutor General’s Offices for 2024-2025;
- Agreement on cooperation between the Ministry of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania and the Ministry of Youth and Sport of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the field of youth policy.
We are convinced that these legal frameworks are a very good start for real practical cooperation and will motivate other institutions, the business community and universities to follow excellent cooperation examples.
Are there any plans to increase trade between the countries?
Lithuania and Azerbaijan have huge untapped opportunities for economic cooperation. The President of Lithuania, Gitanas Nausėda, during the opening of the Business Forum in Vilnius, emphasized - Azerbaijan is an important partner of Lithuania, and we are interested in searching for mutually beneficial opportunities. Lithuania’s open and export-oriented economy currently is one of the 15 most diversified economies in the world. The ability to adapt and look for new markets is one of Lithuania’s greatest strengths and also the foundation of our long-term success.
Lithuania sees Azerbaijan as a growing economic power with a huge energy potential and aspirations to diversify. Various sectors of Azerbaijan’s economy, such as information technologies, logistics, manufacturing, advanced food industries, and renewable energy, attract Lithuanian entrepreneurs.
For those willing to tap our economic potential, Lithuania has seven free economic zones with generous tax incentives. Our digital infrastructure is fast and affordable, among the best ranked in the European Union.
What could you say about the green economy cooperation between Azerbaijan and Lithuania?
Lithuania is looking at the plans of the European Union to support the industrial production of green technologies. New opportunities will be provided by a breakthrough in zero-pollution manufacturing. It will benefit Lithuania’s economy. The development of net-zero economies could also bring Lithuania’s and Azerbaijan’s economies closer.
Lithuania has plans to build a net zero-oriented economy, based on the manufacturing of renewables, electricity generation, e-mobility, and the automotive sector, also we are well-advanced in the Internet things area and circular economy business models.
To provide the economy with stable energy resources, Lithuania implemented over the last decade huge electricity and gas infrastructure investment projects, including the LNG terminal. Now Lithuania‘s energy sector is supplemented by solar and wind energy parks. Lithuania is on the way to having one of the first offshore wind energy parks in the Baltic Sea.
Lithuania is approaching an economic model based on low fixed-price energy to be generated from renewable resources both on-shore and off-shore. That will strongly increase the competitiveness of the manufacturing and services sectors.
What do you think about cooperation in innovation and technology - are there any joint projects in these areas?
The development of green technologies is an opportunity to fulfill the untapped economic partnership potential between Lithuania and Azerbaijan. At the present moment, there are common partnerships in the information technologies area, and Lithuania considers the innovation area will be at the core of the expected more intensive economic cooperation between the two countries. The growing number of signed documents on cooperation, signed by the Innovation Agency of Lithuania with Azerbaijani counterparties this and last year, evidence the development of future ties.
How would you comment on the expansion of cooperation in the energy sector? During President Gitanas Nauseda's visit to Baku in 2022 he mentioned that Lithuania can offer Azerbaijan solutions in the field of renewable energy, especially solar energy. What do you have to say about that?
In electricity, Lithuania’s goal is to become a self-sufficient green electricity producer by 2030. For that, the installed capacity of wind and solar energy generation will have to increase almost 7 times, and this transformation process has already started.
Lithuanian energy companies and science institutions have accumulated exclusive competences in the field of solar energy. We have a growing domestic solar modules production with battery packs, designed for domestic, business and specific agriculture use. Our companies have knowledge of shaping, constructing and operating large solar park projects and are ready to meet Azerbaijan’s needs in this field. Solar energy can mark the start of our mutually beneficial cooperation with Azerbaijan in energy.