Lietuva in brief - 2007-02-28

  • 2007-02-28
Lithuania may join Poland in blocking European Union talks with Russia on a new cooperation agreement if the EU will not help convince Russia to restore oil supplies to Lithuania by the Druzhba pipeline, Zygimantas Pavilionis, undersecretary to the Lithuanian foreign ministry told journalists on Feb. 23. "We can become another Poland," he told the Reuters news agency, referring to the Polish decision late last year to veto the launch of EU-Russia talks on a wide-ranging cooperation agreement. The Druzhba pipeline to the Mazeikiu Nafta refinery was shut down last July and has not yet been reopened. Russian oil supplier Transneft recently said supplies via the pipeline may not be resumed at all.

The MTV Networks Baltic music channel has made an appeal to a Vilnius court asking it to cancel a ruling made by a journalism ethics inspector that the cartoon series Popetown, broadcast by MTV Lietuva channel, instigates discrimination on religious grounds. In its appeal MTV said that the inspector exceeded his competence in making the ruling. The cartoon series Popetown was twice reviewed by the Journalists and Publishers Ethics Commission, and on both occasions the commission decided the series does not violate existing laws. The Lithuanian Catholic Church has also appealed to the court demanding the Popetown series be banned from broadcast, but the court rejected the demand as groundless.

Lithuanians are among the most miserable in the European Union, the latest survey by Eurobarometer showed. The survey, entitled European Social Reality and released on Feb. 26, showed that an average of 87 percent of people throughout the EU said they are happy, while in Lithuania the number stood at only 74 percent. The only nations that are less happy in the EU were Latvians (72 percent), Hungarians (68 percent), Romanians (60 percent) and Bulgarians (30 percent). Denmark appeared to be the happiest nation with 97 percent of its inhabitants saying they feel happy, while the indicator for Netherlands was 95 percent. The survey also showed that only 13 percent of Lithuanians consider themselves "very happy," against the EU average of 26 percent.

Lithuania on Feb. 27 opened its first consulate in Kazakhstan, the foreign ministry said. The consulate, headed by Audrius Jozenas, will operate in Kazakhstan's largest city, Alma-Ata. Lithuania's Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Romualdas Visokavicius, in an official opening ceremony said that the new Lithuanian consulate would contribute to the expansion of Lithuanian-Kazakh ties, promote bilateral trade, economical, cultural and science relationships, and assist in protecting the interests of Lithuanian people in Kazakhstan. The new honorary consul, Jozenas, has been residing and working in Kazakhstan since 1995, where he has been working in the pharmaceutical business and heading Alma-Ata's Lithuanian community.