Lithuania and Belarus are seeking to deepen cross-border cooperation while combatting smuggling. (photo: president.lt)
VILNIUS - Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius has called attention to cigarette smuggling from Belarus into Latvia and Lithuania amid government calls to improve the cross-border cooperation programme between the three countries.
"A large quantity of smuggled cigarettes are shipped into Lithuania not through the Belarus-Lithuania and not through the Kaliningrad-Lithuania border but, instead, via the Latvian borders with Belarus or Russia before reaching Lithuania," Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said in an interview to the public radio.
"This is more difficult for us to stop or combat it because the Lithuanian-Latvian border is, as we all know, in the Schengen zone,"
The comments came within a day calls from the Lithuanian Interior Ministry for proposals for action on the EU-sponsored cross-border cooperation programme between the three countries.
The ministry said 8 million euros would be devoted to proposals that came in response to the call.
Proposals should aim to enhance the territorial cohesion of the Latvian, Lithuanian and Belarusian border region, secure high level of environmental protection and provide economic and social welfare. Proposals should also help promote intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity.