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THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

28 May 2017
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Business, economy, investments

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Country comparator:
Lithuania has big
trouble growing

Country Current account balance (BoP, current US$) Inflation, consumer prices (annual %) GDP growth (annual %) GDP per capita, PPP (current international $) GINI index ()
United States -470.902 1.64 3 47153.01 40.81
Canada -49.307 1.777 3.215 39050.17 32.56
Estonia 0.673 2.974 3.105 20663.43 36
Lithuania 0.534 1.318 1.33 18147.98 37.57
Norway 51.444 2.399 0.677 57230.89 25.79
Sweden 30.408 1.158 5.61 39024.17 25

BoP: Balance of Payments.
GDP: Gross Domestic Product.
GINI index: measures the extent to which the distribution of income or consumption expenditure among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution.

The latest comparative data show that Lithuania has big trouble growing even with the unprecedented sacrifices of the austerity policies by the Kubilius Government; and from very low levels. This data confirms my earlier predictions of big financial-economic collapse in Lithuania: bank and company bankruptcies.

Val Samonis
Toronto, Canada

Category : Business, economy, investments / Front page

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Opinion: Irene Simanavicius, Toronto:

Invite Brazil
to Tea


Three decades ago, for example, the Brazilian government gave aircraft manufacturer Embraer lucrative contracts and various subsidies, recognizing that it could potentially find a niche in producing smaller, regional aircraft. Private investors were dubious of Embraer’s chances. Had it relied solely on private investment, the company probably would have failed; instead, it flourished, becoming the world’s biggest maker of regional jets.

My question is... What is Lithuania going to do to get top tier corporations to take Lithuania seriously? Lithuania needs to get on board especially now with the slow economic temperature in Europe, we need investors that will TRUST Lithuania. We need Lithuania to trust Lithuania. We need to be investing in the country, providing jobs for Lithuanians, introduce some level of security for Lithuania.

Lithuania NEEDS a strong economy!

Combining government support with a mandate for profitability and independent management has yielded successful businesses in other countries like Brazil for instance Brazil is perhaps the best current example of how a country can build innovative industries. Successive Brazilian governments have intervened—with incentives, loans, and subsidies—to promote industries that otherwise would have needed long-term private investment to make them competitive with U.S. and European rivals. At the same time, Brazil preserved strong, independent management of state-backed firms, ensuring they did not become political boondoggles.

Three decades ago, for example, the Brazilian government gave aircraft manufacturer Embraer lucrative contracts and various subsidies, recognizing that it could potentially find a niche in producing smaller, regional aircraft. Private investors were dubious of Embraer’s chances. Had it relied solely on private investment, the company probably would have failed; instead, it flourished, becoming the world’s biggest maker of regional jets.

Similarly, by investing in deep-sea drilling technology, Petrobras, a state oil company with an independent management board, has made itself competitive with multinational giants such as Chevron, Shell, and BP.

Three decades ago, for example, the Brazilian government gave aircraft manufacturer Embraer lucrative contracts and various subsidies, recognizing that it could potentially find a niche in producing smaller, regional aircraft. Private investors were dubious of Embraer’s chances. Had it relied solely on private investment, the company probably would have failed; instead, it flourished, becoming the world’s biggest maker of regional jets. Similarly, by investing in deep-sea drilling technology, Petrobras, a state oil company with an independent management board, has made itself competitive with multinational giants such as Chevron, Shell, and BP.

By picking industries it could dominate and supporting them even when private capital was scarce, Brazil has created internationally competitive companies in a range of industries, from aerospace to clean energy. Today the government often backs companies as a minority shareholder or through indirect vehicles, allowing for corporate independence while still helping companies make important investments in research and skills. Many of Brazil’s state-backed companies have survived the global slump far better than multinationals because they can rely on government assistance to see them through

Singapore has used government incentives to push companies to move into industries such as solar and other clean energies, which, although not necessarily profitable now, will be the emerging technologies of this century.

Some smaller countries may respond by either curbing their government access to their markets or by intervening heavily in their own economies. Neither of these solutions is really viable. As the biggest companies expand their global operations, their technology, connections, and capital will be almost impossible to keep out. And aging, heavily indebted nations face huge challenges reforming their entitlement programs: They’re in no position to pour the amount of resources into companies that Brazil, India, or China can.

Singapore offers one model of how the state can intervene in the economy without stifling entrepreneurship. The government there identifies industries that are critical to innovation and future technology, helps provide initial angel investments in small companies, tries to woo talented men and women from other countries who work in these industries, and uses state resources to ensure that universities focus on basic science research that will yield dividends in the future.

The government there identifies industries that are critical to innovation and future technology, helps provide initial angel investments in small companies, tries to woo talented men and women from other countries who work in these industries, and uses state resources to ensure that universities focus on basic science research that will yield dividends in the future.
Instead of trying to prevent—or worse, dismiss this altogether— U.S. and European companies and governments would do better to learn from them.

All these strategies require only modest state investment, and nothing on the scope of China’s or Brazil’s large-scale lending to state companies.

Perhaps we should invite the Brazilians for tea!

Category : Business, economy, investments

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AAA rated nations worldwide:
8 of 10 top rated nations
located in North Europe!

Least risky countries, Score out of 100
Country risk rankings (June 2012)
Source: Euromoney country risk 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credit_rating
RankPreviousCountryOverall score
11Norway90.37
22Switzerland88.83
33Singapore88.03
44Luxembourg87.90
54Sweden86.79
65Finland84.30
77Canada84.26
88Denmark83.52
99Netherlands83.07
107Germany82.24

It may surprise many that eight of the top ten countries in the world enjoying AAA rating from Standard & Poor’s are located in Northern Europe, and that all four Scandinavian countries are among these eight. The only non-European countries on this distinguished list are Canada and Singapore, while countries like the U.S., Japan and China have to accept lower rank.


Click on the map for higher resolution.

What is a 'credit rating'?

A credit rating evaluates the credit worthiness of a debtor, especially a business (company) or a government. It is an evaluation made by a credit rating agency of the debtor's ability to pay back the debt and the likelihood of default.

Credit ratings are determined by credit ratings agencies. The credit rating represents the credit rating agency's evaluation of qualitative and quantitative information for a company or government; including non-public information obtained by the credit rating agencies analysts.

Credit ratings are not based on mathematical formulas. Instead, credit rating agencies use their judgment and experience in determining what public and private information should be considered in giving a rating to a particular company or government. The credit rating is used by individuals and entities that purchase the bonds issued by companies and governments to determine the likelihood that the government will pay its bond obligations.

A poor credit rating indicates a credit rating agency's opinion that the company or government has a high risk of defaulting, based on the agency's analysis of the entity's history and analysis of long term economic prospects.

Sovereign credit rating

A sovereign credit rating is the credit rating of a sovereign entity, i.e., a national government. The sovereign credit rating indicates the risk level of the investing environment of a country and is used by investors looking to invest abroad. It takes political risk into account

The table above shows the ten least-risky countries for investment as of June 2012. Ratings are further broken down into components including political risk, economic risk. Euromoney's bi-annual country risk index monitors the political and economic stability of 185 sovereign countries. Results focus foremost on economics, specifically sovereign default risk and/or payment default risk for exporters (a.k.a. "trade credit" risk).

A. M. Best defines "country risk" as the risk that country-specific factors could adversely affect an insurer's ability to meet its financial obligations.

Short-term rating

A short-term rating is a probability factor of an individual going into default within a year. This is in contrast to long-term rating which is evaluated over a long timeframe. In the past institutional investors preferred to consider long-term ratings. Nowadays, short-term ratings are commonly used.

First, the Basel II agreement requires banks to report their one-year probability if they applied internal-ratings-based approach for capital requirements. Second, many institutional investors can easily manage their credit/bond portfolios with derivatives on monthly or quarterly basis. Therefore, some rating agencies simply report short-term ratings.

Credit rating agencies

The largest credit rating agencies (which tend to operate worldwide) are Dun & Bradstreet, Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings.
Other agencies include A. M. Best (U.S.), Baycorp Advantage (Australia), Egan-Jones Rating Company (U.S.), Global Credit Ratings Co. (South Africa),Levin and Goldstein(Zambia),Agusto & Co(Nigeria), Japan Credit Rating Agency, Ltd. (Japan), Muros Ratings (Russia alternative rating agency), Rapid Ratings International (U.S.). and Credit Rating Information and Services Limited (Bangladesh)

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credit_rating

Category : Business, economy, investments

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3 UPCOMING CONFERENCES:

 

Baltic Dynamics 2012
September 13th - 14th in Vilnius

We would like to attract your attention to the international conference

„BALTIC  DYNAMICS  2012 : THE ROLE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PARKS IN SUPPORTING ENTREPRENEURIAL COMMUNITY“

which takes place in Vilnius Radisson BLU Hotel (Konstitucijos 20) on September 13th and 14th, 2012.

The conference will present the newest facts on innovation and business / SMEs in the Baltic, as well as detailed discussions on public entrepreneurial support, the role of science and technology parks, intellectual property management, international cooperation in the field of innovation, among others.

Read more...

Category : Business, economy, investments / Front page

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Lithuania: Your strategic
gateway to Europe

September 21st in Chicago

The annual World Lithuania Economic Forum (WLEF) this year takes place in Chicago September 21st. This year's conference is entitled Lithuania: Your Strategic Gateway to Europe.

The conference will convene business professionals from corporations that have operations in, or looking to establish operations in Lithuania; senior-level government officials responsible for attracting FDI to Lithuania; and entrepreneurs exploring opportunities in Lithuania.

Read more...

Category : Business, economy, investments / Front page

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Baltic Investors Forum
October 25th - 26th in Vilnius

Mark your calendar to make sure you attend the first Baltic Region Investors Forum.
The two-day international event of the highest level for business international development, investment promotion and future economic prospects already presents over 30 prominent speakers.

For the first time in Baltics:
Dr. Nouriel Roubini,Co-founder and Chairman, Roubini Global Economics 
Mr. Richard C. Koo,Chief Economist, Nomura Research Institute  

Register to Forum online          Get your Program online 

Category : Business, economy, investments / Front page

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The new President of Lithuanian Industrialists' Confederation,
Robertas Dargis, about the financial crisis in Lithuania:

Our government
has failed


ROBERTAS DARGIS
Photo: Irmanto Gelūno/
www.15min.lt

“We took the easiest way – additional borrowing. The rate of change in our sovereign debt is enormous compared to other European countries. We had a debt of 17.4 billion litas (5 billion euros) and over the four years of the crisis, it has swollen to 51 billion (14.8 billion euros) – that's the figure we're having by the end of this year. Such a hike in debt is very dangerous to the state, so at least today, we must choose measures that make future predictable.”

The Lithuanian Industrialists Confederation (LIC) has elected a new president – businessman Robertas Dargis, CEO of the Eika Group. He says business is every country's engine for progress and not, as some imagine, a clique of self-seeking lobbyists.

Dargis, who runs a construction company, defeated a strong competitor in his running for presidency – Visvaldas Matijošaitis, CEO of Vičiūnų Group. Dargis succeeds the previous LIC president, late Bronislavas Lubys, and will head the organization for four years.

Read more...

Category : Business, economy, investments / Front page

Klaipedos Nafta has one of the most up-to-date oil terminals in Europe

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Rokas Masiulis,
General Manager of Klaipedos Nafta

Rokas Masiulis has huge challenges, both behind and in front of him. As head of the giant oil terminal belonging to Klaipedos Nafta, he has had good success, and has this year also delivered remarkable economic performance for the company that in essence is owned by the Lithuanian State. Now it's planning and development of the increasingly well-publicized LNG terminal that lies in front of him. The president and the government have decided that the LNG venture will be a project of national concern..

Read more...

Category : Business, economy, investments / Front page

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Russian Rouble –
invented in Lithuania?

What would you think if you found out that experts believe that the Rouble did not originate in Russia? What would you think if you found out that these same experts believe the Rouble originated in Lithuania and then later migrated to Russia?

Read more...

Category : Business, economy, investments / Front page

OPINIONS

Have your say. Send to:
editor@VilNews.com


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?

Read more...
* * *


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.

Read more...
* * *

* * *
VilNews
Christmas greetings
from Vilnius


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

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.

Read more...
* * *
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.

Read more...
* * *
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.

Read more...
* * *
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.

Read more...
* * *
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.
MADE IN WALES -
ENGLISH VERSION OF THE
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
VYTAUTAS LANDSBERGIS.

Read more...
* * *
IS IT POSSIBLE TO
COMMENT ON OUR
ARTICLES? :-)
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
www.anatanassileika.com

http://www.vdu.lt/lt/rasytojas-antanas-sileika-pristatys-savo-kuryba/
https://leu.lt/lt/lf/lf_naujienos/kvieciame-i-rasytojo-59hc.html
* * *

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
HERE.
* * *
EU-Russia:
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.

Read more...
* * *

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.

Read more...
* * *

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.

Read more...
* * *

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.

Read more...
* * *

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

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.

Read more...
* * *

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.

Read more...
* * *
Click HERE to read previous opinion letters >



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