On Nov. 4-5 in Washington D.C., Political Director of the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Eitvydas Bajarunas participated in a meeting of political directors from the Baltic, Nordic and the U.S. foreign ministries, reports ELTA. This meeting was held as part of the Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe (e-PINE) initiative. E-PINE is a framework for U.S. cooperation with Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden. E-PINE aims at enhancing the U.S. strategic cooperation with the Baltic and Nordic states. Consultations take place regularly two to three times a year at various levels of foreign ministry officials. At the meeting in Washington D.C., participants discussed issues including relations with Russia, China and the EU Eastern Partnership countries, preparation for the upcoming NATO Summit on Nov. 19 in Lisbon, NATO’s new strategic concept, Iran’s nuclear policy and cyber-security.
Unemployment in Lithuania continued to fall in October as the country inched into economic recovery, dropping to 14.2 percent from 14.3 percent in September, official data show, reports LETA. It was the fourth monthly fall in a row. Unemployment had been 14.8 in August and 15.3 percent in July. October’s rate translated into 306,200 jobless as of Nov. 1 in this European Union nation of 3.3 million. Unemployment was over 12 percent on the eve of ex-communist Lithuania’s EU entry in 2004. The jobless rolls snowballed after Lithuania tumbled into one of the deepest recessions in the world - GDP shrank by 14.8 percent in 2009. Lithuania’s centre-right government brought in biting austerity measures in the face of the crisis. It estimates that the economy could grow this year by 0.5-1.6 percent, thanks in part to recovering exports, followed by 3.0-4.0 percent in 2011.