Despite the monthly deflation, Lithuania ended 2009 with one of the highest annual inflation indexes and will apparently occupy second place, after Romania, among EU countries, reports ELTA. “Lithuania will be one of the few EU countries to avoid annual deflation in these times of economic turmoil,” said Senior Analyst at DnB Nord Jekaterina Rojaka. She says the process of price increases in the EU is likely to continue this year. “It is obvious that with the global increase in prices, Lithuania will import a part of this inflation. The 28 percent increase in electricity prices will move the inflation by around 0.6 percent,” said Rojaka. Bank analysts claim that these factors create a considerable boost to the increase in the price level. Thus, unfortunately, the purchasing power of Lithuanian people is programmed to decline.
The extradition of Gen. Vladimir Uschopchik, living in Belarus, who is accused of conspiracy against the state of Lithuania in the case of the Jan. 13 events in 1991, might be solved only at a political level, says President Dalia Grybauskaite, reports ELTA. Dialogue with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko will be further developed with regard to that, she adds. “I have always believed that this issue can only be solved at a political level, thus, the political dialogue with Mr. Lukashenko will be continued.” On Jan. 5, the Prosecutor General’s Office received a letter from the Prosecutor General’s Office of Belarus stating that Belarus rejected Lithuania’s applications for legal aid in the Jan. 13 case. Repeated demands for criminal proceedings against Uschopchik and Stanislava Juoniene, also living in Belarus, were sent to the law enforcement institutions of Belarus in autumn 2009. “The execution of a legal aid application of the Republic of Lithuania in this case is against the essential principles of the laws of the Republic of Belarus,” retorted the communication report.
On January 14-15, an informal meeting of European and North American experts on international and security policy, including politicians, political scientists, diplomats and analysts, will be held in Trakai, reports ELTA. The participants will address issues of relations between East and West, and key strategic challenges that the Euro-Atlantic community will have to face in 2010. According to Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vygaudas Usackas, the Snow Meeting, which has become traditional, received considerable attention from experts. “This is an informal forum that puts forward ideas and proposals regarding the EU and NATO policy towards Russia, further prospects of the Eastern neighborhood, as well as NATO and EU enlargement. Such events help Lithuania to become a co-author and implementer of intellectual ideas and initiatives,” the Minister said. This year 30 high-ranking strategists from Europe and North America will participate. Among the guests are: foreign ministers of Sweden, Ireland, Hungary, Greece, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Moldova, high-ranking officials from institutions of the European Union, shapers of public opinion, foreign policy analysts and researchers from institutes of international relations of the UK, U.S., Germany, Estonia, Portugal and Iceland.