Lithuania signs accession agreement with EUMETSAT
At the same time, Lithuania signed the extension of its Cooperating State agreement with EUMETSAT by a further two years to cover the period 2012-2013. The two agreements were signed by Mr. Gediminas Kazlauskas, the Lithuanian Minister of the Environment, and Alain Ratier, Director-General of EUMETSAT.
Lithuania will become a full Member State of EUMETSAT by 2014 after having been a Cooperating State since 2005. Ratier welcomed the Lithuanian accession: "The signature of the accession agreement is the result of active cooperation between Lithuania and EUMETSAT. It clearly shows that Lithuania is aware of the value of our satellites for the monitoring of weather, climate and the environment, and will soon be ready to fully participate in strategic decisions on our future programmes, such as the EUMETSAT Polar System Second Generation."
As a Member State, Lithuania will participate fully in EUMETSAT's decision-making process and its industry will be able to bid for contracts, in addition to maintaining the unlimited access to all EUMETSAT data and products for official duty use it has enjoyed since becoming a Cooperating State.
Kazlauskas commented, "The Republic of Lithuania will become a EUMETSAT Member State after completing a nine-year transition as a Cooperating State. This is a very important step because full membership allows us to share all the data and information needed to further improve our environmental monitoring, early warning and prediction systems and our means to monitor the climate and issue more accurate weather forecasts."
The accession of Lithuania will contribute to EUMETSAT's objective to have 31 Member States in 2014.
The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 27 European Member States (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia*, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom) and four Cooperating States (Bulgaria, Iceland, Lithuania, and Serbia).
EUMETSAT operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat-8 and -9 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-7 over the Indian Ocean.
Metop-A, the first European polar-orbiting meteorological satellite, was launched in October 2006 and has been delivering operational data since 15 May 2007.
The Jason-2 ocean altimetry satellite, launched on 20 June 2008, added ocean surface topography to the missions EUMETSAT conducts.
The data and products from EUMETSAT's satellites make a significant contribution to weather forecasting and to the monitoring of the global climate.