Lietuva in brief - 2008-11-26

  • 2008-11-26
President Valdas Adamkus presented Andrius Kubilius to Seimas (Lithuanian parliament) as candidate for Prime Minister, saying that he has shown himself to be a determined and popular politician. Adamkus spoke about his experience during the Russian financial crisis of 1998-1999. Before becoming Prime Minister, the Seimas must approve the Homeland Union 's Lithuanian Christian Democrat party leader's candidacy.

Nazi and Soviet crimes against humanity committed in 20th Century Europe will one day be equally condemned, Adamkus said. "It is the last indispensable precondition for Europe's moral and spiritual unity on the road towards mutual openness and genuine solidarity among the nations." Adamkus said that history should not put the blame on specific nations, but rather on totalitarian regimes. President Adamkus said that there would come a time when no one will "ever attempt to deny the cruelties of the Soviet regime unleashed in Ukraine and claim that 25 thousand people were starved to death per day by a mismanaged economy or poor harvest." Adamkus also asked people to remember the past crimes, lest they repeat themselves.

The Statistics Department of Lithuania reported that the gross domestic product per capita increased in all regions of the country in 2007. As in the previous year, the bulk of GDP per capita was in the Vilnius and Klaipeda regions. The Vilnius region is the most important in the country with the nominal GDP per capita in 2007 growing 20 percent. The report showed that the gap between Vilnius and other regions did not narrow in 2007 but became even wider. The per capita GDP in Vilnius region was more than twice that of the Alytus, Marijampole, Panevezys, Siauliai, Taurage and Utena regions.

The Lithuanian Defense Ministry has paid almost 19.7 million litas (5.7 million euros) in bonuses to civil servants working in the national defense system and troops serving in the armed forces. The Ministry said soldiers received 85 percent of the sum, with the remainder given to civil servants and staff. The draft of next year's budget proposed by the outgoing government of Gediminas Kirkilas, which the new parliament plans to change, sets out 1.56 billion litas to the defense sector, an increase of 59.2 million litas from this year. This equals 1.16 percent of the projected GDP of Lithuania. Members of NATO, which Lithuania joined in 2004, have committed to keeping the level at 2 percent of GDP.

Andrius Kubilius has said that he does not think it is possible for the government to finance the new multi-functional complex where Hermitage/Guggenheim Museum and Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Museum would be housed. It is not a good time to build it, with too much already spent on other sectors, he said. He does not intend to stop financing Rulers' Palace, a project started by Social Democrat Algirdas Brazauskas government. This would cost approximately 260 million litas, with government financing from 10 to 15 percent of the cost, and the rest being funded by Vilnius City Municipality, private investors and EU. Architect Zaha Hadid's building project was approved earlier this year.