September 12, 2013
Many leaders in the world have met the Dalai Lama in recent years but it is only the second time that the exiled Tibetan religious leader has met the head of the country holding the EU Presidency, writes Vincent Metten.
On September 11, 2013 President Dalia Grybauskaite welcomed the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, to Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius. In a moving video, President Grybauskaite told the Dalai Lama she was ‘honored’ to receive him. The Lithuanian leader’s actions were all the more significant as they followed a deep freeze in China’s relations with the UK after UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s meeting with the Dalai Lama in London last year. The meeting was also an important signal as Lithuania currently holds the six-monthly rotating Presidency of the European Council.
Two years ago, President Grybauskaite’s Estonian counterpart, President Toomas Ilves, also met with the Dalai Lama. Many other leaders in the world have met the Dalai Lama in recent years such as US Presidents Bush and Obama, German Chancellor Merkel, the President of the European Commission Barroso, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofsadt, the late Czech President Vaclav Havel, and others. But it is only the second time that the exiled Tibetan religious leader has met the head of the country holding the EU Presidency.