Archive for August 9, 2007
There is a new development on the missing Lithuanian businessman in Kaliningrad region. Still back in April Mr. Stanislovas Jucius, the founder and president of the Lithuanian Businessmen’s Club, Roslitstroj’s CEO and a member of the board of the Jupoja concern disappeared in the Kaliningrad region gone missing.
Only few days ago it became known that Mr Alexander Semkin, a colleague of the missing Lithuanian businessman Jucius and one of the founders and owners of the Lithuanian equity construction company Rosslitstroj has been assassinated in Kaliningrad.
This news was confirmed for BNS by the acting General Consul in Kaliningrad Valdas Lastauskas.
He said he is so far only aware about the fact of assassination. In his words, a meeting is being negotiated with Kaliningrad’s law enforcement officers to possibly find out more about the incident.
Russian news agency Regnum has reported that Semkin was killed near the entrance to the building he lived in. The man died of knife wounds.
Lastauskas informed that the Lithuanian staff working for Rosslitstroj in Kaliningrad has not been threatened in any way.
Lithuanian businessmen are one of the most active in the neighboring region. However, there are some information that since Russian economic might is growing the Russian businessmen from the main Russia started to flood the region. The completion with the Lithuanians is often involving the corrupt practices and even criminal threats.
I would like to present an analysis by Laurynas Kasčinūas: “What Sort of the EU Does Lithuania Need?” published in Veidas magazine on 2 of August. The author is arguing that Lithuania should fight for its right more vigorously, since not ‘one size for all’ is not always corresponds to the emerging Lithuania’s needs. Here we are:
’During the negotiations over EU membership, in Lithuania‘s political, economic, and even cultural life a stereotype was formed that the EU is a unique European invention that signifies peace and prosperity. During that time, idealistic speeches about common European values and Lithuania‘s return to the family of European nations were very popular.
This stage of somewhat primitive clichés is over. To paraphrase a famous public figure, “the referendum is over, and so is the romanticism.” The period of romanticism is gradually being replaced by a pragmatic view toward the EU. Lithuania had to grasp the rules of the new political game in the EU and to decide whether to swim downstream, accepting all political and economic norms of the EU or to create a Lithuanian vision of the EU. It looks like Lithuania prefers to conform, at least for now.
During its first three years in the EU, Lithuania distinguished itself as one of the most earnest adherents of the conformist policy. [passage omitted: Lithuania is transferring 99.5 percent of all EU directives into its legal norms]
First, Lithuania should decide whether the EU’s common template of social and economic policies fits its needs better than the possibility of creating a model of social and economic prosperity that is more in line with Lithuania‘s national particularity. Žygimantas Vaičiūnas, deputy director of the Center for Strategic Studies, says strict adherence to EU requirements most often raises Lithuanian companies’ expenditures and the prices of their goods and services.
Considering the fact that Lithuanian companies’ productivity is much smaller than the EU average and the fact that their technological input is much poorer, additional EU requirements may become a factor that limits the competitiveness of the Lithuanian national economy. Additional EU regulations are costlier for Lithuania than for richer EU countries, and they reduce Lithuania‘s chances of quickly reaching the level of prosperity seen in the older EU member states. These arguments should rebuff the euro federalists’ claims that closer EU integration is a tool for reducing economic and social differences throughout Europe.
One is inclined to conclude that, on the theoretical level, the growing competitiveness of the Lithuanian economy today cannot be compared to the growing competitiveness of the rich EU countries. Moreover, according to Vaičiunas, common social programs and taxes will fit Lithuania‘s needs only when the economic level in Lithuania becomes equal to the level found in the rich EU countries. Thus, for now, Lithuania should oppose proposals to harmonize economic and social systems in the EU countries, because competition between different systems would allow Lithuania to create an economic model that is more effective and better suits Lithuania‘s interests.
Does Lithuania Need Strong EU?
MP Egidijus Vareikis thinks Lithuania is very vulnerable to pressure from external powers. Thus, EU membership can provide Lithuania with an additional negotiating tool in its relations with Russia. For example, in negotiations with Russia over energy supply conditions. Moreover, the issues that dominate the current European political agenda in Lithuania – joining the Schengen zone, the eurozone, and attempts to create a common EU energy policy – can be solved only in a tightly integrated EU. Thus, Lithuania should be willing to transfer its sovereignty to the EU in certain areas in exchange for stability and security in relations with Russia.
On the other hand, the main condition for creating a strong EU is the EU countries’ consolidation, which most certainly should be implemented on the basis of the dominant political, economic, and social models within the EU. This means that in a strong EU, Lithuania would be forced to accept the political, economic, and social standards of certain EU countries. In other words, Lithuania would be forced to accept rules that m ay not always suit Lithuania‘s interests. The only way Lithuania can solve this integration dilemma is to increase its influence in the EU decision-making process, thus transferring national priorities to the EU agenda. In other words, a tightly integrated EU can be useful to Lithuania only if Lithuania‘s interests are also taken into consideration. Source: BBC Monitoring
The Lithuanian President calls for the Lithuanian Swedish Power Bridge and more usage of renewable energy
As the President’s Press office reported the President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus called for clear principles of operation of renewing and alternative energy sources which must be established as this would allow reducing dependence on countries that control oil and gas resources and living in a cleaner environment.
The President expressed his wish that Lithuania should be more proactive in cooperating with the Scandinavian countries that have the conventional electricity market and a ‘green’ energy market in place and operating efficiently. President Admakus called for an electricity grid between Lithuania and Sweden be started as soon as possible which would link the countries and would provide passage both for the conventional and ‘green’ electricity.
The President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus assured today that Lithuania will continue its involvement in the international coalition’s operation Iraqi Freedom. “We are positive that our contribution in Iraq will serve in combating terror and will bear witness to our country’s maturity in fighting against international security challenges.”
According to the press release from the president’s press service, during meetings with high-ranking US officials, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas and Defense Minister Juozas Olekas, who are visiting Washington this week, confirmed once again that Lithuania will continue its presence in the international operation in Iraq by sending another fighting unit.
The talk of Lithuania\s withdrawal from Iraq intensified when Vilnius informed that Lithuania started considering a possibility not to send relief for the LITCON-9 squad that is finishing its mission in August and to keep troops serving in the training mission and allied headquarters as Lithuania’s only military presence in Iraq. The squad was based in the South of Iraq within the Danish troops. Lithuania so far has no intentions to send any relief for it but is considering every possibility to continue its involvement in the mission, sending troops to fighting units as well.
As the undersecretary of the Defence Ministry Renatas Norkus told BNS “Really, as the Danish battalion is returning from Iraq, where our squad was deployed, no new squad is scheduled for dispatch as the battalion in which our troops used to serve is no longer in South Iraq. However, Lithuania is considering all proposals from the allies and allows that it might continue its involvement with fighting forces as well.”
The Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said in this morning interview on Ziniu Radijas; “That the tension in Georgia endures and various provocations take place there from time to time, is no surprise for us. That has probably to de with the fact that Georgia is aiming at membership in NATO. Let’s be honest.”
In Kirkilas’s words, such conflicts are supposedly to show that Georgia is an unstable, whimsical country of conflict, one that will be unpredictable in its relationship with NATO countries in future.