I love those several hours long driving business trips. This time – to Riga*, 3-4 hours drive from Vilnius. It’s always a good time to align ideas, contemplate and look for new insights.
An early morning drive was no different. I had a large cup of coffee, rather slow pace and a lot of time to think about everything on my mind. The tricky part during the journey was I’ve forgotten to take a technical pass for my car. All those earlier cross-border checks made me wonder for a half an hour, whereas I will be asked to turn around and go back.
But EU reality proved once more, that it is the thing worth fighting for – there are no border checks, there is no wasted time, there are no those specific people – border guards. Now LT-LV border crossing is no different from the Soviet times, when my family trip Utena (LT) – Daugavpils (LV) was a regular route and the most noticeable change were new alphabet letters on the border signs.
And that’s where I was stroked with an idea, that this small change is a perfect KPI for Lithuanian development strategy 2.0. Now, when we are successful member of EU and NATO (that was our Strategy 1.0), we (Lithuania) should focus our efforts in order to achieve similar borderless status with ALL our neighbours. This is not an easy task. Free movement of people, goods, services and information will not be easy to achieve with Belarus or Russian Federation. And these are only minor examples of issues to be dealt before we can abandon all our remaining border stations.
We should not expect easy goals, nor will they be quickly achievable. Nevertheless, the abandoned LT-LV customs building is a perfect illustration for the change I wished for our relations with Belarus and Russian Federation. Borders are meaningless only when you trust. And building trust with all our neighbours should be our major strategic goal.
* – I was invited as a jury member to the final stage of Baltic PR Awards competition.