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Archive for May, 2011

Lithuanian first-quarter economic growth second-fastest in EU

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By Milda Seputyte – BLOOMBERG

Lithuania’s economic growth accelerated to 6.9 percent in the first quarter, the second- fastest in the European Union, on investments and increased domestic demand.
The expansion compares with a 4.8 percent rise in the fourth quarter, the Vilnius-based statistics office said in an e-mailed statement today. The result is unchanged from a preliminary estimate on April 28. The economy expanded a seasonally adjusted 3.5 percent from the previous quarter.
Lithuania, part of the Baltic region along with Estonia and Latvia that suffered the world’s deepest recession in 2009, is benefiting from rising demand for its exports that account for about two-thirds of output. Foreign sales and recovering domestic demand has pushed economic growth to the fastest rate in the EU after Estonia.
Household consumption grew an annual 5.5 percent in the first quarter and capital formation jumped 41 percent from a year earlier on investments in real estate, equipment and machinery, the statistics office said.
The International Monetary Fund raised on May 19 its economic-growth forecast for Lithuania to 6 percent this year from 4.6 percent. The Finance Ministry estimates the economy may grow 5.8 percent this year, betting on an export-driven expansion as growth in the rest of Europe propels shipments of Lithuanian products to record highs.
Exports grew an annual 21.8 percent in the first quarter, driven by sales of refined fuels, cars and fertilizer. The Orlen Lietuva AB refinery, the nation’s biggest exporter, said crude processing grew 27 percent in the period from last year.
Retail trade expanded an annual 20 percent in the first three months of the year as consumers spent more on cars and clothing. Car sales rose an annual 83 percent in the period driven by demand from neighboring Belarus as the country prepares to unify its tariffs for vehicle imports from July 1 with other countries in a customs union that also includes Russia and Kazakhstan.


Category : News

Obama’s visit to Poland could mark change in relations with Eastern Europe

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Last Friday President Dalia Grybauskaitė attended the meeting of Central European heads of state with US President Barack Obama. At the working dinner the Lithuanian President underlined that NATO anti-missile defense must cover all Allies. According to the President, NATO-Russian relations are particularly important for Lithuania owing to its strategically special location on the boundary of the Alliance’s territory. The President said the agreement reached in the NATO Lisbon Summit must not be changed and must not become the object of negotiations with Russia.

By Irena Chalupa
U.S. President Barack Obama’s European tour has offered something for everyone: the folksiness of a walk through an Irish village, the pomp and circumstance of a meeting with Queen Elizabeth, the gravitas of a G8 summit. His trip was ending in Poland, where the president met with 20 leaders from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe after his arrival and met with the Polish president the next day.

That scheduling leaves itself open to competing interpretations. Some of those attending the summit undoubtedly wonder whether this is a case of the president saving the most important item on his itinerary for last -- or of treating their part of the world as an afterthought.

Eastern Europeans worry that their region is sliding down the list of Washington’s priorities at a moment when political upheavals are transforming the Middle East. Others fret that the Obama administration’s much-discussed “reset” of its relationship with Moscow has come at their cost.

Read more at:

Category : News

Lithuania may extract shale gas in two years

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Energy Minister Arvydas Sekmokas quoted American experts as saying that Lithuania could extract not layers, but about 10 billion cubic metres of gas at the value of up to 30 billion U.S. dollars

As soon as year 2012, Lithuania may start works with test drills for shale gas with a private investor. Lithuania has 480 billion cubic metres of shale gas which could produce 100 billion cubic metres of gas, geologists say.

More actions should be taken to determine how much of the gas Lithuania has and what benefit it could bring, Environment Minister Gediminas Kazlauskas said after a meeting with the leadership of the Geological Survey of Lithuania Service, informs LETA/ELTA.

Exploration of shale gas is expensive for the budget and would take long, therefore, it will be aimed to draw investment from foreign companies, the minister said.

Energy Minister Arvydas Sekmokas quoted American experts as saying that Lithuania could extract not layers, but about 10 billion cubic metres of gas at the value of up to 30 billion U.S. dollars. However, according to the minister, these are only theoretical considerations which are not based on geological data. The research project is estimated to cost about 250 million U.S. dollars.

Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius intends to set up a working group on the matter. Lithuania's shale gas resources are expected to meet the country's needs for from 30 to 50 years.

Shale gas resources are possibly situated in south-west Lithuania, extending to the Kaliningrad region and Poland.


Category : News

What is shale gas?

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Shale gas is natural gas produced from shale. Shale gas has become an increasingly important source of natural gas in the United States over the past decade, and interest has spread to potential gas shales in Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia. One analyst expects shale gas to supply as much as half the natural gas production in North America by 2020.[1]
Some analysts expect that shale gas will greatly expand worldwide energy supply.[2] A study by the Baker Institute of Public Policy at Rice University concluded that increased shale gas production in the US and Canada could help prevent Russia and Persian Gulf countries from dictating higher prices for the gas it exports to European countries.[3] The Obama administration believes that increased shale gas development will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions,[4] However, there is growing evidence that the extraction and use of shale gas results in the release of more greenhouse gases than conventional natural gas, and may lead to emissions greater than those of oil or coal.

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Category : News

‘Invest Lithuania’ & ‘Enterprise Lithuania’

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Managing Director
Paulius Lukauskas

Managing Director
Mantas Nocius

15 months ago, the Lithuanian Development Agency (LDA) was restructured into two public rganizations – INVEST LITHUANIA (IL) and ENTERPRISE LITHUANIA (EL).

The restructure was made aiming to increase the efficiency of the two major functions of LDA, i.e. attraction of FDI to Lithuania and promotion of Lithuanian enterprises’ exports. 

INVEST LITHUANIA is now responsible for the attraction of FDI projects, provide investment aftercare services as well as will be in charge of developing Lithuania’s economic image worldwide.

ENTERPRISE LITHUANIA is focusing on encouraging Lithuanian producers’ exports and provide support for local small and mid-sized businesses.

The Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Lithuania is the owner of the two new institutions.


VilNews will, from time to time, bring news and information from the two institutions. We will also do our best to help and support them with their important tasks and duties.

Category : News

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Latest news from:

Danes to invest over EUR 11 M into R&D centre

The Danish company Danspin is investing more than EUR 11 million in a spinning factory for carpet yarn in the Lithuanian town of Raseiniai. In addition to creating 200 new jobs at the factory, a centre for research and experimental development will be established. In its turn, the Lithuanian Ministry of Economy has granted almost 1.5 million to this project.

IBM’s new nanotechnology centre will collaborate with Lithuanian scientists

This week IBM and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Zurich (ETH Zurich), a premiere European science and engineering university, hosted more than 600 guests from industry, academia and government, to open the Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center, located on the campus of IBM Research – Zurich (Switzerland). The facility is the centerpiece of a 10-year strategic partnership in nanoscience between IBM and ETH Zurich where scientists will research novel nanoscale structures and devices to advance energy and information technologies.

"fDi Intelligence“: Lithuania – example of FDI attraction

Lithuania is a country that is an example of the successful foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction. This has been announced in the annual review "Global FDI Outlook Report 2011” by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development prepared in cooperation with the fDi Intelligence of The Financial Times.

Category : News

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Latest news from:

China's Huawei to set up research laboratory in Vilnius

Lithuania 's mobile operator Omnitel will team up with China's telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies and the University of Vilnius for setting up a joint research laboratory next autumn. The Rector of Vilnius University, Mr. Benediktas Juodka, Omnitel‘s President, Mr. Antanas Zabulis, and the Head of Huawei Technologies in the Baltic countries, Mr. Ye Yong, have signed a cooperation agreement this week in Vilnius.

Category : News

A more likely scenario is orderly restructuring

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Nerijus Maciulis
Chief economist, Swedbank

By Nerijus Maciulis, Chief economist, Swedbank

The scenario described by Andrew Lilico is highly unlikely. Greece, Ireland and Portugal together constitute less than 6% of Euro area GDP – even if all of them restructure their debt at the same time, the effect will most probably be contained.

One of the reasons why ECB and European Commission keep resisting any kind of restructuring is to make sure that there will be no disastrous spill-over effects to financial sector. It is likely that ECB and EC are waiting for the results from bank stress tests before they take any decision on restructuring. But behind the closed doors there probably is a discussion on how to proceed with orderly and contained restructuring.

In case of the first (chaotic and contagious) scenario, the effects would be dramatic, despite Lithuania's weak links with euro area periphery. Increasing uncertainty and flight for safety would cause higher interbank interest rates and government borrowing costs. This would undoubtedly damage credit markets, which have not yet recovered from a previous blow. Lower confidence and higher interest rates would deter investments; consumers would increase savings and reduce spending. After global financial crisis the economy has adapted to different conditions and now households and companies are much less dependent on borrowed capital. However, current economic growth in Lithuania was mainly based on strong exports – a strong dent in foreign demand would slow down our recovery, if not cause another recession.

A more likely scenario is orderly restructuring (probably well before 2013, when European Stability Mechanism is introduced), which will cause some short-term volatility, but not significant damage to the real economy.

Jekaterian Rojaka
Chief economist,

What could be the consequences for Lithuania if Greece falls?

"Pretty little – we do not have any major exposure to Greece, not firm foreigh trade pattern.

In default case, maybe Greece would become a top destination for vacation, which now is firmly taken by Turkey and Egypt."

Category : Business, economy, investments

Kaunas Airport grows quickest in Europe!

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Kaunas Airport has won the Euro Annie Award as the fastest growing European airport in 2010 in the category of passenger volume segment of between 100,000 and 1 million passengers a year.

Over the last year, the numbers of passengers served in Kaunas airport have grown 77% with over 809,000 passengers served.

Category : News


Have your say. Send to:

By Dr. Boris Vytautas Bakunas,
Ph. D., Chicago

A wave of unity sweeps the international Lithuanian community on March 11th every year as Lithuanians celebrated the anniversary of the Lithuanian Parliament's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. However, the sense of national unity engendered by the celebration could be short-lived.

Human beings have a strong tendency to overgeneralize and succumb to stereotypical us-them distinctions that can shatter even the strongest bonds. We need only search the internet to find examples of divisive thinking at work:

- "50 years of Soviet rule has ruined an entire generation of Lithuanian.

- "Those who fled Lithuania during World II were cowards -- and now they come back, flaunt their wealth, and tell us 'true Lithuanians' how to live."

- "Lithuanians who work abroad have abandoned their homeland and should be deprived of their Lithuanian citizenship."

Could such stereotypical, emotionally-charged accusations be one of the main reasons why relations between Lithuania's diaspora groups and their countrymen back home have become strained?

* * *

Text: Saulene Valskyte

In Lithuania Christmas Eve is a family event and the New Year's Eve a great party with friends!
Lithuanian say "Kaip sutiksi naujus metus, taip juos ir praleisi" (the way you'll meet the new year is the way you will spend it). So everyone is trying to spend New Year's Eve with friend and have as much fun as possible.

Lithuanian New Year's traditions are very similar to those in other countries, and actually were similar since many years ago. Also, the traditional Lithuanian New Years Eve party was very similar to other big celebrations throughout the year.

The New Year's Eve table is quite similar to the Christmas Eve table, but without straws under the tablecloth, and now including meat dishes. A tradition that definitely hasn't changes is that everybody is trying not to fell asleep before midnight. It was said that if you oversleep the midnight point you will be lazy all the upcoming year. People were also trying to get up early on the first day of the new year, because waking up late also meant a very lazy and unfortunate year.

During the New Year celebration people were dancing, singing, playing games and doing magic to guess the future. People didn't drink much of alcohol, especially was that the case for women.

Here are some advices from elders:
- During the New Year, be very nice and listen to relatives - what you are during New Year Eve, you will be throughout the year.

- During to the New Year Eve, try not to fall, because if this happens, next year you will be unhappy.

- If in the start of the New Year, the first news are good - then the year will be successful. If not - the year will be problematic.

New year predictions
* If during New Year eve it's snowing - then it will be bad weather all year round. If the day is fine - one can expect good harvest.
* If New Year's night is cold and starry - look forward to a good summer!
* If the during New Year Eve trees are covered with frost - then it will be a good year. If it is wet weather on New Year's Eve, one can expect a year where many will die and dangerous epidemics occur.
* If the first day of the new year is snowy - the upcoming year will see many young people die. If the night is snowy - mostly old people will die.
* If the New Year time is cold - then Easter will be warm.
* If during New Year there are a lot of birds in your homestead - then all year around there will be many guests and the year will be fun.

* * *

* * *
Christmas greetings
from Vilnius

* * *
Ukraine won the historic
and epic battle for the
By Leonidas Donskis
Philosopher, political theorist, historian of
ideas, social analyst, and political

Immediately after Russia stepped in Syria, we understood that it is time to sum up the convoluted and long story about Ukraine and the EU - a story of pride and prejudice which has a chance to become a story of a new vision regained after self-inflicted blindness.

Ukraine was and continues to be perceived by the EU political class as a sort of grey zone with its immense potential and possibilities for the future, yet deeply embedded and trapped in No Man's Land with all of its troubled past, post-Soviet traumas, ambiguities, insecurities, corruption, social divisions, and despair. Why worry for what has yet to emerge as a new actor of world history in terms of nation-building, European identity, and deeper commitments to transparency and free market economy?

Right? Wrong. No matter how troubled Ukraine's economic and political reality could be, the country has already passed the point of no return. Even if Vladimir Putin retains his leverage of power to blackmail Ukraine and the West in terms of Ukraine's zero chances to accede to NATO due to the problems of territorial integrity, occupation and annexation of Crimea, and mayhem or a frozen conflict in the Donbas region, Ukraine will never return to Russia's zone of influence. It could be deprived of the chances to join NATO or the EU in the coming years or decades, yet there are no forces on earth to make present Ukraine part of the Eurasia project fostered by Putin.

* * *
Watch this video if you
want to learn about the
new, scary propaganda
war between Russia,
The West and the
Baltic States!

* * *
90% of all Lithuanians
believe their government
is corrupt
Lithuania is perceived to be the country with the most widespread government corruption, according to an international survey involving almost 40 countries.

* * *
Lithuanian medical
students say no to
bribes for doctors

On International Anticorruption Day, the Special Investigation Service shifted their attention to medical institutions, where citizens encounter bribery most often. Doctors blame citizens for giving bribes while patients complain that, without bribes, they won't receive proper medical attention. Campaigners against corruption say that bribery would disappear if medical institutions themselves were to take resolute actions against corruption and made an effort to take care of their patients.

* * *
Doing business in Lithuania

By Grant Arthur Gochin
California - USA

Lithuania emerged from the yoke of the Soviet Union a mere 25 years ago. Since then, Lithuania has attempted to model upon other European nations, joining NATO, Schengen, and the EU. But, has the Soviet Union left Lithuania?

During Soviet times, government was administered for the people in control, not for the local population, court decisions were decreed, they were not the administration of justice, and academia was the domain of ideologues. 25 years of freedom and openness should have put those bad experiences behind Lithuania, but that is not so.

Today, it is a matter of expectation that court pronouncements will be governed by ideological dictates. Few, if any Lithuanians expect real justice to be effected. For foreign companies, doing business in Lithuania is almost impossible in a situation where business people do not expect rule of law, so, surely Government would be a refuge of competence?

Lithuanian Government has not emerged from Soviet styles. In an attempt to devolve power, Lithuania has created a myriad of fiefdoms of power, each speaking in the name of the Government, each its own centralized power base of ideology.

* * *
Greetings from Wales!
By Anita Šovaitė-Woronycz
Chepstow, Wales

Think of a nation in northern Europe whose population is around the 3 million mark a land of song, of rivers, lakes, forests, rolling green hills, beautiful coastline a land where mushrooms grow ready for the picking, a land with a passion for preserving its ancient language and culture.

Doesn't that sound suspiciously like Lithuania? Ah, but I didn't mention the mountains of Snowdonia, which would give the game away.

I'm talking about Wales, that part of the UK which Lithuanians used to call "Valija", but later named "Velsas" (why?). Wales, the nation which has welcomed two Lithuanian heads of state to its shores - firstly Professor Vytautas Landsbergis, who has paid several visits and, more recently, President Dalia Grybauskaitė who attended the 2014 NATO summit which was held in Newport, South Wales.

* * *
Read Cassandra's article HERE

Read Rugile's article HERE

Did you know there is a comment field right after every article we publish? If you read the two above posts, you will see that they both have received many comments. Also YOU are welcome with your comments. To all our articles!
* * *

Greetings from Toronto
By Antanas Sileika,
Toronto, Canada

Toronto was a major postwar settlement centre for Lithuanian Displaced Persons, and to this day there are two Catholic parishes and one Lutheran one, as well as a Lithuanian House, retirement home, and nursing home. A new wave of immigrants has showed interest in sports.

Although Lithuanian activities have thinned over the decades as that postwar generation died out, the Lithuanian Martyrs' parish hall is crowded with many, many hundreds of visitors who come to the Lithuanian cemetery for All Souls' Day. Similarly, the Franciscan parish has standing room only for Christmas Eve mass.

Although I am firmly embedded in the literary culture of Canada, my themes are usually Lithuanian, and I'll be in Kaunas and Vilnius in mid-November 2015 to give talks about the Lithuanian translations of my novels and short stories, which I write in English.

If you have the Lithuanian language, come by to one of the talks listed in the links below. And if you don't, you can read more about my work at
* * *

As long as VilNews exists,
there is hope for the future
Professor Irena Veisaite, Chairwoman of our Honorary Council, asked us to convey her heartfelt greetings to the other Council Members and to all readers of VilNews.

"My love and best wishes to all. As long as VilNews exists, there is hope for the future,"" she writes.

Irena Veisaite means very much for our publication, and we do hereby thank her for the support and wise commitment she always shows.

You can read our interview with her
* * *
Facing a new reality

By Vygaudas Ušackas
EU Ambassador to the Russian Federation

Dear readers of VilNews,

It's great to see this online resource for people interested in Baltic affairs. I congratulate the editors. From my position as EU Ambassador to Russia, allow me to share some observations.

For a number of years, the EU and Russia had assumed the existence of a strategic partnership, based on the convergence of values, economic integration and increasingly open markets and a modernisation agenda for society.

Our agenda was positive and ambitious. We looked at Russia as a country ready to converge with "European values", a country likely to embrace both the basic principles of democratic government and a liberal concept of the world order. It was believed this would bring our relations to a new level, covering the whole spectrum of the EU's strategic relationship with Russia.

* * *

The likelihood of Putin
invading Lithuania
By Mikhail Iossel
Professor of English at Concordia University, Canada
Founding Director at Summer Literary Seminars

The likelihood of Putin's invading Lithuania or fomenting a Donbass-style counterfeit pro-Russian uprising there, at this point, in my strong opinion, is no higher than that of his attacking Portugal, say, or Ecuador. Regardless of whether he might or might not, in principle, be interested in the insane idea of expanding Russia's geographic boundaries to those of the former USSR (and I for one do not believe that has ever been his goal), he knows this would be entirely unfeasible, both in near- and long-term historical perspective, for a variety of reasons. It is not going to happen. There will be no restoration of the Soviet Union as a geopolitical entity.

* * *

Are all Lithuanian energy
problems now resolved?
By Dr. Stasys Backaitis,
P.E., CSMP, SAE Fellow Member of Central and Eastern European Coalition, Washington, D.C., USA

Lithuania's Energy Timeline - from total dependence to independence

Lithuania as a country does not have significant energy resources. Energy consuming infrastructure after WWII was small and totally supported by energy imports from Russia.

First nuclear reactor begins power generation at Ignalina in 1983, the second reactor in 1987. Iganlina generates enough electricity to cover Lithuania's needs and about 50%.for export. As, prerequisite for membership in EU, Ignalina ceases all nuclear power generation in 2009

The Klaipėda Sea terminal begins Russia's oil export operations in 1959 and imports in 1994.

Mazeikiu Nafta (current ORLEAN Lietuva) begins operation of oil refinery in 1980.

* * *

Have Lithuanian ties across
the Baltic Sea become
stronger in recent years?
By Eitvydas Bajarunas
Ambassador to Sweden

My answer to affirmative "yes". Yes, Lithuanian ties across the Baltic Sea become as never before solid in recent years. For me the biggest achievement of Lithuania in the Baltic Sea region during recent years is boosting Baltic and Nordic ties. And not because of mere accident - Nordic direction was Lithuania's strategic choice.

The two decades that have passed since regaining Lithuania's independence can be described as a "building boom". From the wreckage of a captive Soviet republic, a generation of Lithuanians have built a modern European state, and are now helping construct a Nordic-Baltic community replete with institutions intended to promote political coordination and foster a trans-Baltic regional identity. Indeed, a "Nordic-Baltic community" - I will explain later in my text the meaning of this catch-phrase.

Since the restoration of Lithuania's independence 25 years ago, we have continuously felt a strong support from Nordic countries. Nordics in particular were among the countries supporting Lithuania's and Baltic States' striving towards independence. Take example of Iceland, country which recognized Lithuania in February of 1991, well in advance of other countries. Yet another example - Swedish Ambassador was the first ambassador accredited to Lithuania in 1991. The other countries followed suit. When we restored our statehood, Nordic Countries became champions in promoting Baltic integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. To large degree thanks Nordic Countries, massive transformations occurred in Lithuania since then, Lithuania became fully-fledged member of the EU and NATO, and we joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2015.

* * *

It's the economy, stupid *
By Valdas (Val) Samonis,

n his article, Val Samonis takes a comparative policy look at the Lithuanian economy during the period 2000-2015. He argues that the LT policy response (a radical and classical austerity) was wrong and unenlightened because it coincided with strong and continuing deflationary forces in the EU and the global economy which forces were predictable, given the right policy guidance. Also, he makes a point that LT austerity, and the resulting sharp drop in GDP and employment in LT, stimulated emigration of young people (and the related worsening of other demographics) which processes took huge dimensions thereby undercutting even the future enlightened efforts to get out of the middle-income growth trap by LT. Consequently, the country is now on the trajectory (development path) similar to that of a dog that chases its own tail. A strong effort by new generation of policymakers is badly needed to jolt the country out of that wrong trajectory and to offer the chance of escaping the middle-income growth trap via innovations.

* * *

Have you heard about the
South African "Pencil Test"?
By Karina Simonson

If you are not South African, then, probably, you haven't. It is a test performed in South Africa during the apartheid regime and was used, together with the other ways, to determine racial identity, distinguishing whites from coloureds and blacks. That repressive test was very close to Nazi implemented ways to separate Jews from Aryans. Could you now imagine a Lithuanian mother, performing it on her own child?

But that is exactly what happened to me when I came back from South Africa. I will tell you how.

* * *
Click HERE to read previous opinion letters >

VilNews e-magazine is published in Vilnius, Lithuania. Editor-in-Chief: Mr. Aage Myhre. Inquires to the
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All content is copyrighted © 2011. UAB ‘VilNews’.

مبلمان اداری صندلی مدیریتی صندلی اداری میز اداری وبلاگدهی فروشگاه اینترنتی گن لاغری شکم بند لاغری تبلیغات کلیکی آموزش زبان انگلیسی پاراگلایدر ساخت وبلاگ بوی دهان بوی بد دهان