Archive for June, 2009

Lithuania’s President – we failed to implement the liberal democracy in Georgia

During his last visit to Georgia Lithuania’s president Adamkus’ about a failure to implement the Western liberal style democracy in Georgia. 

‘I have to admit the fact that we failed to achieve such a result after which we could tell to ourselves that yes, we have one more state which shares with us the Western liberal values.  But this question will be resolved in future,’ Delfi.lt cites the President.  However, Adamkus admitted that Georgia’s democracy is in one or another level; it is still a democratic state.

June 24, 2009 at 1:24 pm 2 comments

US President Obama called Lithuania’s President Adamkus

Lithuania’s outgoing President Valdas Adamkus on 23 June had a phone conversation with US President Barack Obama as the BNS informed.

The two presidents discussed President Barack Obama’s upcoming July 6 visit to the Russian Federation and addressed the situation in Georgia, the Lithuanian president’s press service said in a statement.

Obama noted Lithuania as being an important partner to the US in the region and thanked President Adamkus for his contribution to developing bipartite relations.

Adamkus, in turn, said he was hopeful that Lithuania and US maintain successful cooperation in promoting democracy and transatlantic integration. Adamkus also added he feels the US and the European Union (EU) should spare more attention to Europe’s Eastern neighbours and thus help stabilize the region.

Speaking on the situation in Georgia, Adamkus underlined the need for the country’s ruling and opposition political forces to steer clear of further confrontations and adhere to principles of democracy BNS wrote.

June 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm Leave a comment

IMF sees Lithuania’s economy contracting in 2009 by 16% and the SEB bank forecasts by 15.5%

Lithuania’s economy will contract by at least 16% this year and shrink by further 3.75% in 2010, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts writes the BNS.

“Such forecasts involve rather significant uncertainty and risks over the outlook for such a development,” Catriona Purfield, the head of visiting IMF mission, said during a news conference in Vilnius on 22 June.

Lithuania needed further corrections to the scale of approximately 7% of GDP [to reduce fiscal deficit by 7 points] over mid-term, based on current estimations including the measures already taken, she said.

The BNS writes that Lithuania had not applied to the fund for assistance and there were no discussions of a loan under way, she said. The current currency board regime was adequate yet the country had to continue reforms in order to maintain it, Ms. Purfield added.

“The road ahead will be difficult, hence regular measures to ensure fiscal and financial sustainability will be necessary during that period. Despite fast balancing of the current account, the safeguards from potential risks are limited, therefore regular efforts, including further large-scale consolidation of public finances, creation of additional safeguards in the financial system, further regulation of wages and structural reforms, will be required in order to ensure smooth functioning of the currency board until the adoption of euro,” she said.

“The figures provided in the IMF working report are very clear – the consolidation of public finances, which exceeds 7% of GDP and which will have to be implemented in coming two years, is a great challenge, yet it is possible to be implemented since everybody understands what will happen if it is not implemented,” Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius told the reporters after the meeting with the IMF representatives.

The IMF mission arrived to Lithuania on 11 June.

On 23 June the SEB, Lithuania’s largest commercial bank forecasted that Lithuania’s GDP should contract by 15.5 % this year and that is forecast downgrading its previous projection of a 9 percent economic decline this year.

As the BNS informed for 2010 the bank’s analysts are projecting a 3.5% decline, unchanged from earlier forecasts. In 2011 the economy should expand by 3%.

Fiscal deficit should reach 7% of GDP this year and 5% in 2010.

“It means that the hopes of the head of Lithuania’s government to adopt the euro in 2012 are too optimistic since the authorities will not manage to reduce the fiscal deficit to the required 3 percent level until mid-2011,” Gitanas Nauseda, an adviser to SEB bank president, said on 23 June.

June 23, 2009 at 11:24 am Leave a comment

World Bank forecasts 10% GDP slump for Lithuania in 2009

As the BNS informs the World Bank forecasts that Lithuania’s GDP will contract by 10 % this year.

In a report published on June 22, the World Bank warned that the Baltic countries would face the sharpest recession in Central and Eastern Europe. Latvia’s GDP is expected to slump by 13 % in 2009.

Despite relatively strong fundamentals, Poland is feeling the pinch of the crisis as well: its GDP this year is expected to grow by a mere 0.5 %.

Central and Eastern Europe’s GDP is expected to decline by 1.6 % this year and remain flat next year.

Nine countries reached agreements with the International Monetary Fund on 55.8 billion US dollars worth of loans from September 2008 to May 2009. Six of them have received aid through the World Bank, the European Commission and several other institutions.

June 22, 2009 at 12:58 pm Leave a comment

Oslo mayor brings husband to Vilnius in protest of gay situation

As the Lietuvos Rytas writes the Oslo Mayor Erling Lae brought his spouse Jens T. Olsen to an international mayoral forum in Vilnius during the weekend due to what he said was a complex gay situation in Lithuania BNS informed.

Lae said he had consciously decided to fly to Vilnius with his male partner, the daily newspaper Lietuvos Zinios reported.

The Norwegian capital’s mayor said that he wanted to stress he was married to a man.

In Lae’s words, the situation of Lithuania’s gay community somewhat improved after Vilius Navickas was elected as Vilnius mayor. His predecessor Juozas Imbrasas (has been elected to the European Parliament) was notorious for his conflicts with an organization of homosexuals. Last August, he refused the European Union’s truck “For Diversity, Against Discrimination” entry into Lithuania for the second consecutive year and said that a gay parade in the Lithuanian capital was out of the question.

The Oslo mayor was also critical of Navickas’ recent statement that he would allow a gay parade on the industrial Savanoriu Avenue, however, would not tolerate their demonstration in the city canter writes BNS.

Lae described the gay situation in Lithuania as worse than in other two Baltic states, accusing Vilnius of resisting the EU counter-discrimination directive.

The head of the Vilnius municipality’s Foreign Affairs Division, Zilvinas Abaravicius, said that guests had been invited to attend at the international mayoral forum with their spouses.

“Lae’s arrival with his spouse is not a problem at all. Vilnius is an open and tolerant city,” he said.

“A person is entitled to stating his attitude. It is a personal affair, and I do not intend to criticize it,” the Vilnius mayor said in comment of the critical statements by his Oslo counterpart on the situation of Lithuania’s gay community.

Navickas said that homosexual matters were not discussed during the meeting with the mayor of the Norwegian capital.

June 22, 2009 at 10:43 am 4 comments

Another 5,700 people join Lithuania’s jobless ranks in a week, Lithuanian unemployed ‘discover’ Scandinavia

As Lithuania’s Labour Exchange said on 22 June another 5,700 people were registered as unemployed in Lithuania last week, down 24% from 7,500 people registered a week earlier

The total number of people with the status of unemployed persons reached 196,400 as of 19 June (up from 194,900 a week earlier), which accounted for 9.2% of the working age population, as calculated by BNS.

As the BNS informs some 1,163 job vacancies were registered in 12-19 June down 19 % from 1,440 vacancies a week earlier. Some 2,600 persons got employed, down 19% from 3,200 the previous week.

There were around 1,300 vacancies in the Labour Exchange database on 19 June.

This morning Lithuania’s Public Radio announced that Lithuanians remains the immigration champions per capita in the EU.  However, destinations for new immigrants are changing.  According to this information Lithuanians starting to discover the neighbouring Scandinavian countries when looking for employment.

June 22, 2009 at 10:21 am Leave a comment

Lithuania is Among Top Five Enemies of Russia

Lithuania is among the top five enemies of Russia. This was revealed by a recent public opinion poll in Russia. One can say that the notion of Lithuania as an enemy was inculcated into the heads of common Russians by the Kremlin’s propaganda. This is true, but it does not change the essence of the issue. Unlike in 1990-1991, today Lithuania would not be able to count on moral support from Russians, which was one of the reasons why we were successful in our quest for independence. Later, when we were negotiating over the withdrawal of Russian troops from Lithuania, favourable opinion about us among common Russians was also a very important factor.

Even ten years later, when we were trying to join NATO, one of the arguments our politicians and diplomats used in the talks with the Western partners was a poll that showed the majority of Russians did not object to our membership in the alliance. The poll also said that our membership in the alliance would not harm Russia’s relations with NATO, something Moscow’s politicians were trying to claim. Therefore, Russian politicians drew certain conclusions and started fixing the mistake of their propaganda, which at that time still counter-positioned the “good” Lithuania against the “bad” Latvia and Estonia.

Thanks to the efforts by the Kremlin’s propaganda masters, in 2004-2005 Vilnius got involved in a fierce verbal war against Moscow. The war lasted till 2008 and did not produce anything good for Lithuania: The Druzhba [friendship] oil pipeline was not reopened, the talks over compensation for the occupation damages did not commence, the Medininkai murderers were not extradited. The only thing we achieved was the loss of allies in the EU.

Russia, meanwhile, gained a strong argument in the discussions with the EU and NATO. From dawn till dusk the EU and NATO were told: “Did we not tell you that by accepting those intrigue-loving Baltic states, you would gain a source of constant disagreements with Russia?”

In 2004-2005, Russians’ opinion about the Baltic States, Poland, Ukraine, and Georgia has started to get worse. This showed that harming the ties with the closest neighbours in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union was a deliberate and pre-planned policy of Moscow.

A fruit of this policy could be observed in May 2007, when during rioting by Russian-speakers in Tallinn hundreds of thousands of Russians, without having been urged by anyone, got involved in cyber attacks against Estonian websites. A year later, we witnessed another result of this policy in Georgia. That time, as the Russian tanks were rolling towards the neighbouring country, not only Vladimir Putin, but also millions of Russians, overcome by chauvinistic orgasm, were demanding to hang Mikhail Saakashvili “by his balls.”

If the Kremlin started some sort of a political or economic pressure campaign against Lithuania, the support from Russian citizens would be just as enthusiastic.

Source BBC Monitoring

June 20, 2009 at 11:08 am Leave a comment

Nordic, Baltic PMs agree EP election results boost chances of extending Barroso’s EC presidency

Is the BNS informs on 18 June the Nordic and Baltic prime ministers agreed in Brussels that the victory of centre-right parties in the recent elections to the European Parliament (EP) boost the chances of a second tenure for European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

“In these obscure times, at least something should be clear. Europe needs strong mustering leadership. Jose Manuel Barroso is perfectly suitable for the position,” Lithuania’s government cited Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius as saying.

Earlier on 18 June, Kubilius met with his Nordic and Baltic counterparts to discuss the stances taken by the countries before the start of the European Council. Heads of Finnish, Swedish, Danish, Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian governments attended the meeting.

The prime ministers shared their evaluations of the economic situation in their countries and the region, as well as plans of overcoming the downturn, discussed the election of EC’s new president and enforcement of the Lisbon Treaty.

Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis presented the steps of his government to reduce the budget deficit.

According to the press release, the Nordic and Baltic prime ministers expressed support to Latvia’s difficult but necessary steps and agreed that the frequent proposals to devalue national currencies would not solve the problems but, instead, create new ones.

Source BNS

June 19, 2009 at 11:04 am Leave a comment

Barroso agrees on the Grybauskaite’s replacement in the European Commission

As the BNS writes the Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso agrees to Lithuania’s proposal to appoint its Finance Minister Algirdas Semeta as Commissioner responsible for financial programming and budget.

“To be honest, I didn’t take part in the conversation; the two of them conversed alone. Today I exchanged a few words with Barroso, who said the candidate is suitable and all official procedures will kick off shortly” Kubilius in the late hours of Friday told members of the press after meeting with European Union (EU) leaders in Brussels.

The current EC term will be up in October, with its President Barroso aiming for a second five-year term, with backing of EU leaders.

“I am sure that will be of considerable benefit to the whole European Union and our region in particular. The commission will have a man coming straight from the hardest font line, Kubilius said in Brussels on 18 June.

“Semeta is perfectly aware of all the problems we and many other states are having. His experience and skills should prove useful in the new post as well,” he said to the BNS.

The prime minister expects that Semeta will stay in Brussels for the next five years after the term of the incumbent European Commission ends in November.

“Our region’s problems will definitely not be over by the start of the New Year. I think that Semeta should stay in the EC and be given a portfolio related to finances in one or another way,” he said.

Asked by Lietuvos Rytas if he was not afraid of taking up the post in Brussels in which Grybauskaite had shone so brightly, Semeta said, “I am used to working anywhere where there is work to be done. After that work we have done in Lithuania in the past half-year, I am no longer afraid of anything.”

Asked by Lietuvos Rytas if he was not afraid of taking up the post in Brussels in which Grybauskaite had shone so brightly, Semeta said, “I am used to working anywhere where there is work to be done. After that work we have done in Lithuania in the past half-year, I am no longer afraid of anything.”

It needs to be reminded that this is the second time as the Finance Minister of Lithuania for Semeta.  He was running Lithuania’s finance from 1997 to 1999.  Especially in 1999 Lithuania was experiencing the worst effects of the Russian financial meltdown of 1998.

June 19, 2009 at 10:53 am Leave a comment

Online museum to guide visitors through Communist regime crimes

An online Global Museum on Communism is being launched on Tuesday in view of shedding a light on the history of the Soviet regime and the inherent crimes against humanity, and commemorating victims of the regime writes BNS.

The Lithuanian government was among donors that contributed to the project in question, earmarking 15,000 litas (EUR 4,300). The website launch will be webcast on Tuesday evening from the US capital Washington.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas says that such projects help the humanity retain the historic memory, loss of which makes “reconciliation impossible.”

“We cannot forget the crimes against the humanity committed by the two largest totalitarian regimes of the 20th century – Fascism and Stalinism. Symbolically, the project is being launched this year, which does not only mark 20 years since the fall of the Berlin wall but also 70 years since the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact,” Usackas told BNS on Tuesday in comment of the project.

Victims of the Communist regime and their families will be invited to register in the website and share their experience. The museum will also feature papers by historians, also film recordings from key historic events.

The project was initiated by a Washington-based Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, established in December of 1993 by the US Congress in view of immortalizing the memory of those fallen victim to communism and those who fought to resist it.

Project donors include governments of other Eastern European states as well as private foundations and individual contributors.

The Lithuanian government previously allocated funds to the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation back in 2007 for an underway memorial in Washington erected to pay homage to victims of the regime.

June 19, 2009 at 10:38 am Leave a comment

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