One out of ten Lithuanian residents is unemployed, reports ELTA. The government says it is taking all possible measures to cut unemployment, though the opposition disagrees and accuses the government of indifference to ordinary people. Leader of the Social Democratic Party Algirdas Butkevicius believes unemployment is the most serious problem in Lithuania today. "We should use the EU money faster and more rationally, increase funding for infrastructure development programs, negotiate with banks on guaranteed loans to agriculture," he said. Last week, 3,300 new unemployed registered at labor exchange; 232,000 people are officially unemployed. The Ministry of Finance predicts that the number of unemployed will increase to 329,000 next year and the unemployment rate will reach 19.8 percent. Opposition Leader Valentinas Mazuronis criticizes the government's efforts. Mazuronis proposes revising taxes, cutting red tape, discussing incentives for people who decide to launch businesses, and working with employers willing to maintain workplaces.
The popularity of capitalism and democracy has dimmed in Lithuania and other post-Soviet countries compared to enthusiasm for the system 18 years ago, polls show, reports LETA. Research done by the Pew Research Center shows that most of the inhabitants of Eastern Europe countries say life was better under communism, and there is a widespread view that the business class and political leadership have benefited from the changes more than the majority of ordinary people. In Lithuania, the approval of a change to democracy has dropped, from 75 percent in 1991 to 55 percent in 2009. The approval of change to capitalism has fallen even more, from 76 percent to 50 percent. The poll reveals that the changes are more favorable to younger generations. In Lithuania, the multi-party system has its strongest support among 18-29 year olds (59 percent), and slightly less among 30-49 year olds (58 percent). Some 56 percent of 50-64 year-old Lithuanians approve of the multi-party system, while only 43 percent of people older than 65 agree that this system is beneficial.