President Metsola said in her keynote speech marking the Day of Defenders of Freedom:
“This award does the European Parliament a great honour. It will inspire us to continue our support of democracy. It will inspire us to stand up for Europe. Lithuania knows only too well what is at stake. Why we need Europe to stand up for our freedoms and our values. Why we must stand firmly for Ukraine. Why Europe must be the light that the world sees.”
On 23 November 2023, the Seimas awarded the European Parliament and Petras Plumpa, political prisoner and participant in the Lithuanian unarmed anti-Soviet resistance, with the 2023 Freedom Prize of the Republic of Lithuania.
The European Parliament received the Prize for its current efforts to consolidate democracy and human rights, for defending the right of nations to sovereignty, for its unrelenting efforts towards historical justice, for supporting the cause of Lithuania’s freedom and the aspiration of the Soviet-occupied Baltic States towards independence, for the diplomatic assistance to Lithuania that restored its independence, and for its contribution to EU integration. As far back as 1983, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning the Soviet Union’s occupation of the Baltic States.
President Metsola´s visit to Lithuania kicked off a series of visits to Member States to ‘Get out the vote’ in the run up to the European elections on 6-9 June. During her visits, the President meets with the country’s leadership, and holds town hall discussions with young people and civil society representatives to highlight the importance of election participation and strengthening democracy.
Source: European Parliament
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