Estonia's Siim Kallas, vice president of the European Commission, said he condemned the European Union's economic policy for preferring short-term aims and finds the bloc facing serious difficulties. "Economic growth is poor, free movement of labor has not begun to function at all, and the market of services is closed to competition," Kallas wrote in an article published in the Diplomaatia supplement to the weekly Sirp. Kallas said EU economic policy was characterized by uncertainty, unreasonable argumentation, demagogy and political leaders' short-term stakes. "There is a major contradiction between yesterday's strategic thinking and today's short-term thinking," Kallas declared, referring to EU founders. The EC vice president also mentioned the strengthening of state-supported protectionist attitudes within the EU.
Lithuanian institutions charged with the administration of EU assistance funds received 695 applications for EU structural funds in April, with the total amount of aid requested reaching 707.4 million litas (205 million euros), the finance ministry reported on May 6. In the 12 months since April 2004, Lithuania's EU assistance administrators received 3,400 applications requesting a total amount of 5.94 billion litas. Some 752 applications with the combined amount of 1.39 billion litas have been selected. A total of 431 contracts, which were awarded 871.6 million litas, have been concluded during the period.