Members of European Parliament from Lithuania MEP Laima Andrikiene, MEP Petras Austrevicius, MEP Zigmantas Balcytis, MEP Vilija Blinkeviciute, MEP Antanas Guoga, MEP Bronis Rope and MEP Algirdas Saudargas hosted Lithuanian 100 Year Anniversary of the restoration of Lithuania’s statehood yesterday at Yehudi Menuhin space yesterday at the European Parliament. Leading the group, MEP Andrikiene, gave a brief introductory speech on the occasion.
Lithuania declared its independence on February 16, 1918. However, in 1940 then the USSR (United Soviet Socialist Republic), now Russia, occupied the small Baltic country. It underwent immense suffering under the Soviet regime. The collapse of the USSR led to the miraculous rebirth of Lithuania in 1990. The current Lithuanian democratic constitution reflects the fundamental salient features of the constitution of 1918.
The celebration was attended by gliterary of European Union and European Parliamentarian dignitaries. There was a strong and high profile delegation from Lithuania itself. Three former Prime Ministers, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker were among some of them. Representative Tashi Phuntsok and Ms Rigzin Genkhang, EU Advocacy Officer, Bureau du Tibet, Brussels, attended the anniversary at the invitation of the Lithuanian host – group.
As Mr Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, whilst busy in Rome electioneering, spoke to the event via video link. He congratulated Lithuania.
Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, made his keynote address. He recalled his recent visit to Vilnius during Lithuanian celebration of the anniversary on 16 February. He said that he was very touched by the celebration and was inspired by the courage of the small nation. He further said that Lithuania now acts more like a founding member of the EU than some of the major founding members who have lost their ambition.
The last speech was made by Mr Viktoras Pranckietis, Speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament. He recalled the immense repression and suffering under the Soviet regime by Lithuanian people. Torture, imprisonment, deportation, ban on language almost broke the spirit of the people. However, they were able to withstand the terrible period and, among others, have been able to preserve their language. Today, it is one of the members of the European Comity.
Before the eventual reception of cocktail, the star attraction of the evening was the concert by Jazz Island, Lithuanian A Cappella Jazz Group. They performed a select repertoire of their unique jazz items: some very traditional folk Lithuanian songs and some very jazzy contemporary Beatles songs. The audience applauded them with many encores.
The main organizer of the event, MEP Andrikiene is one of the regular members of the Tibet Interest Group (TIG) who, regularly participates in the TIG activities.
– Report filed by Office of Tibet, Brussels –