Average gross monthly earnings in Lithuania in the first quarter, 2010, dropped by 4.1 percent, and over the year by 7.4 percent, shows Statistics Lithuania, reports LETA. Average gross monthly earnings for the whole economy (less individual enterprises) in the first quarter 2010 reached 2,031 litas (588 euros) and, against the fourth quarter 2009, dropped by 4.1 percent. In the first quarter 2010, average gross monthly earnings in the public sector made up 2,135 litas and, against the fourth quarter 2009, decreased by 3.3 percent; in the private sector pay was 1,954 litas, and, against the fourth quarter 2009, dropped by 4.8 percent. In the first quarter 2010, the country’s workforce continued to decrease. Against the previous quarter, the average number of employees and the number of employees in full-time work decreased by 0.6 percent, for the year by 10.7 and 11.8 percent, respectively. In the first quarter 2010, a certain part of employees went on unpaid leave or worked shorter hours than those set by law.
Lithuania may once again consider adding its name to a Russian-Polish request to the European Commission asking for the easing of visa rules for the Russian Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, the country’s prime minister told Novosti in an interview on May 31. The European Parliament’s resolution 1931/2006 allows parties to the Schengen agreement to establish a simplified visa regime for people living in a 30-km zone on both sides of the external border. In July 2009, Lithuania, Poland and Russia started preparing a request to the European Union’s main executive body, seeking to extend the resolution to all Kaliningrad region residents. Lithuania, however, later withdrew from the preparations. “We will once again consider [joining the request], I think the issue got stuck somewhere on the bureaucratic level. I always speak in favor of easier travel of citizens... It may need some time, but I think the issue will be solved. I’m optimistic about it,” Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said.