Press release: Following D. Trump’s “Muslim Ban”, Lithuanian MEP invites the US tech sector to explore the EU

Following the United States President D. Trump’s recent signing of an executive order, the so called “Muslim ban”, Member of the European Parliament Antanas Guoga sent out letters to the US technology companies and industry associations, reminding them about the EU’s respect for cultural diversity and invited them to explore the possibility to reallocate their businesses to the EU, particularly to Lithuania. In his letter, MEP A.Guoga also drew attention to his motion for the resolution on fighting discrimination based on race, religion and nationality, which was signed by MEPs from 6 major political groups.

Tech company leaders, in particular, have been more vocal in expressing opposition to the President D. Trump’s signed executive order barring all refugees from entering the U.S., as well as temporarily suspending travel from seven countries that have largely Muslim populations.

“What would either America’s or Europe’s tech industry be like without immigrants? It would lose its competitive advantage because talents and creativity come from diverse cultures”, says MEP A. Guoga, reminding that immigrants have founded more than half of the Silicon Valley companies between 1995-2005. “Steve Jobs was born to a Syrian Muslim immigrant. Tinder, Dropbox, Ebay, were founded or co-founded by Iranian-Americans. Talents flourish, create global companies in the environment that respects fundamental human rights, rule of law, international agreements. If the US cannot ensure non-discriminatory environment for their highly professional talents, Europe invites American tech companies, start-ups to explore the possibility to reallocate their business to the EU, especially to my country Lithuania”, states Mr. Guoga.

Lithuanian MEP emphasized that the EU respects cultural diversity and recognises it as an essential element for fostering democracy and growth. “While the US Federal Appeals Court and the Justice Department question the constitutionality of the ban, it brings huge uncertainty for the US business, hiring talented people from across the world. In the meantime, unlike the US, Lithuania adopted new immigration friendly legislation which aims at attracting ambitious non-EU entrepreneurs to the country and making it easier and more convenient for non-EU nationals and their family members to obtain residence permit”, adds Mr. Guoga.

According to Lithuanian MEP, in recent years, global tech and financial companies discovered Lithuania, and especially its capital Vilnius, as a great place for their businesses. “Barclays has thousands of employees in Vilnius and has just chosen this city for one of their 6 start-up hubs in the world. Danske bank moved their IT service centre for its group of companies and is one of the three biggest investors in Lithuania. Uber has recently opened its engineering centre here”, says MEP.

Lithuania is no. 1 in the EU in terms of both its broadband speed and fibre-to-premises penetration. In 2015 the country was voted 1st globally for fulfilling business requirements for communication technology by the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook and was the fastest in Europe to recover after the economic crisis. “It is also worth mentioning Lithuania’s progressive approach to fintech regulation and the continuously growing multilingual talent pool of this sub-sector witnessed by operations of established financial giants and ambitious start-ups alike”, states Lithuanian MEP.

Additionally, Lithuanian capital Vilnius ranks amongst Top 10 European cities best for starting a business (by It takes 3 days to fully setup in Vilnius. Lithuania is ranked 20th in the world according to Doing Business rankings, and is amongst world leaders in ease of starting a business, registering property and enforcing contracts. ”But most importantly, Lithuania is ready to go an extra mile to help you and welcome you” outlines Mr. Guoga, who is also the Chief Investment Officer of the City of Vilnius.

Last week Lithuanian MEP Antanas Guoga, member of the EPP Group, initiated motion for the resolution of the European Parliament on fighting discrimination based on race, religion and nationality, which was signed by 64 MEPs from 6 major political groups.

EPP Group member, Lithuanian MEP Antanas Guoga is actively involved in a number of Digital Single Market topics. Being an entrepreneur himself, Guoga works for better conditions for European businesses, especially in the technology sector. MEP A.Guoga was chosen as the Lithuanian representative in the POLITICO 28 and POLITICO 40 list. Before focusing on politics, Guoga was better known by his poker-playing alias ‘Tony G’.

The full text of the letter.

The text of motion for the resolution and the list of MEPs who signed the document.