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2020.02.14 11:00

Polish Orlen’s success ‘precondition’ for good relations with Warsaw – Lithuanian president

Ignas Jačauskas, BNS2020.02.14 11:00

Concessions given to Poland’s Orlen operating an oil refinery in Mažeikiai, northern Lithuania, helped improve bilateral relations, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said on Thursday.

"[Orlen’s] successful activity is a very important precondition for the success of Lithuania's economy, and [...] a precondition for good relations with Poland,” the president told DELFI on Thursday night.

Read more: Polish PM promises Orlen's expansion in Lithuania

Although, “I would assume it contributed but definitely was not the defining factor for a thaw in our relations," he added.

Following meetings between Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and Warsaw politicians, the Polish state-owned group Orlen received concessions for freight transportation from Lithuania's state-owned Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways), as well as other tax concessions, according to 15min.lt.

Skvernelis dismissed the report as "deliberate lies," saying the concessions were part of a settlement between Lithuanian Railways and Orlen that helped avoid losses worth millions of euros.

Read more: Lithuanian PM's wife revealed to be working for Polish oil company

Nausėda said strategic companies and major investors "receive certain concessions from the state one way or the other," irrespective of whether they set up their business in Mažeikiai or free economic zones.

The president also underlined that he sought from the very beginning of his term "to declare in all possible ways that Poland is our strategic partner".

Read more: Brussels urges Lithuania to solve name-spelling issue

He also pointed out to the fact that Lithuania and Poland have a lot of common interest and barely have any "hot spots," except for certain nuances, for example, the original spelling of Polish names in Lithuanian documents.

According to Nausėda, Polish leaders are raising this issue but "in a very polite way and really without any pressure". Nauseda also called for the issue to be solved after the Seimas election in October.

The Lithuanian president is in favour of allowing the original spelling of names on the passport's second page. Warsaw previously called on Lithuanian authorities to allow the country’s Polish minority to spell their names in documents in Polish.

"I cannot say they were very happy about it, but they don't make drama out of this issue," the president said.

Nausėda also said he has good personal ties with Polish President Andrzej Duda who has even invited the Lithuanian president to come skiing, but “unfortunately, I don’t have time to use this lovely invitation”.

Read more: Lithuania and Poland to tackle contentious minority education issues