The presidential press service said in a statement that Grybauskaitė was awarded for her personal contribution to the development of the Moldovan-Lithuanian relations and for continued support to the efforts of Moldova’s European integration.
“This award is the recognition of Lithuania’s efforts. Our country has always supported Moldova’s aspiration to build a European state. Two years ago, during its presidency of the Council of the European Union and the Eastern Partnership summit organized in Vilnius Lithuania contributed in a significant way to the introduction of a visa free regime for Moldova,” the Lithuanian president said.
The Order of the Republic is Moldova’s highest state distinction awarded for exceptional merits in all fields which benefit Moldova. Last year, this award was bestowed on Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
Earlier in the day, Grybauskaitė met with Moldova’s President Nicolae Timofti. In the run-up to the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga, the two presidents discussed Moldova’s progress in implementing important European reforms and the strengthening of bilateral economic and political relations.
“Moldova, just like Ukraine, is under external political and economic pressures today. Therefore, it needs wide-ranging support in maintaining its European choice and territorial integrity, dealing with the frozen conflict in Transnistria, and implementing European reforms in the country. Concerted efforts by all Moldovan political forces are needed to carry through substantial reforms and ensure the well-being of the people,” Grybauskaitė said.
In her words, the greatest focus should be placed on the judicial reform, anti-corruption and anti-oligarch policy, the transparency of banks, energy sector and media, and the protection of human rights.
During the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November, 2013, held under the Lithuanian EU presidency, an association and free trade agreement between the EU and Moldova was initialed, and Moldova signed it last June.
Moldova has enjoyed a visa-free regime with the EU since 2014, and over 300,000 people have already made use of the scheme, the Lithuanian presidential service said.