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ADAMKUS: GO WEST

  • 2000-04-27
Go West, life is peaceful there - that can be short summary of the annual speech of President Valdas Adamkus in the Parliament. Adamkus praised the efforts of current Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius to speed up reforms and to catch the train of the Euro-Atlantic integration.

At the same time, Adamkus condemned the wave of populism and even outbreaks of anti-Westernism appearing on the Lithuanian political stage during the recent municipal election campaign. Adamkus did not mention names but his allusions were clear. Adamkus urged the Peasants' Party of Ramunas Karbauskis, the New Union (Social Liberals) of Arturas Paulauskas and the Freedom Union of Vytautas Sustauskas not to behave so radically. These parties are almost unrepresented in Parliament, but they showed good results in the recent municipal elections.

The Euroskeptic Peasants' Party asks for trade barriers protecting Lithuanian farmers from cheap food imports from the European Union. There is some justification for the anger of Lithuanian farmers. The EU behaves in a socialistic manner, giving larger farm subsidies and has built barriers against Lithuanian food imports. However, these views still fall short of justifying Euroskepticism. Lithuania can feed 20 million people now, says Karbauskis. Lithuania desperately needs the huge EU market, said Adamkus, and he was right.

Adamkus said that he is convinced that the anti-Semitic expressions of Kaunas Mayor Sustauskas are a passing phenomenon. Sustauskas already said: Forget everything that I said before. Populists are quick to change their views.

Adamkus also alluded to Paulauskas who wants to cut defense spending. Lithuania should do everything she can to join NATO and the EU. Why? Because God has placed Lithuania in a geopolitical situation that is comparable to life on Vesuvius as history has shown. Of course, not everything depends on Lithuania.

The West was hypocritical towards Central Europe during the entire 20th century. There are no guarantees against a secret pact a la Yalta between Washington and Moscow. For example - ratifying some disarmament treaty in exchange for the West's refusal to accept Lithuania into NATO in 2002.

Western reluctance to accept Lithuania into Western structures makes Lithuanians disappointed in the pro-Western policy of their government and in the West itself. Such Western arrogance encourages various populists here.