The declining population figures seen in the country are determined by emigration and a decrease in the birth rate, Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said, reports ELTA. “It is especially important that those who have left Lithuania would retain links with Lithuania, and see possibilities for returning home. We have to take into account the fact that the Lithuanian population fell by 100,000 in ten years… because the birth rate was significantly lower than the mortality rate,” the prime minister said. According to preliminary e-census and census data, on March 1 this year, there were 3.053 million permanent residents in Lithuania.
The European Union’s criminal intelligence agency Europol has published its ‘Organized Crime Threat Assessment 2011,’ which assesses the current and expected trends in organized crime in the EU, reports LETA. The report mentions Latvia only once, Estonia - three times, while Lithuania - 24 times. Lithuanian organized crime groups are suspected of trafficking drugs from former Soviet countries and South America to Western Europe, as well as of forging euro bills and smuggling cigarettes. Lithuanian police admit that the country is used as a transit corridor for contraband goods. “We are familiar with the local organized crime groups, and the information about them is sent to our foreign colleagues, who are then able to detain them. The crime rate in Lithuania is stable and is gradually decreasing,” said spokesperson for the Lithuanian police Ramunas Matonis.