Lietuva in brief - 2013-05-30

  • 2013-05-29

Swedbank research shows that in the recovering real estate market, almost one-third of Lithuanian residents say the most important criteria when buying a house is still the price, reports ELTA. According to the data, in the first quarter of 2013 a moderate recovery trend dominated the housing market. Bank’s new loans, and the entire mortgage market, grew by approximately 28 percent year-on-year. The experts say that the market has become more sustainable and the population has begun to borrow again. However, despite the recovering market, 31 percent of Lithuania’s population are mostly concerned about price when they are buying housing. The poll was conducted by research company Sprinter Tyrimai under the request of Swedbank.

The most obvious consequence of low birth rates and rising life expectancy, and, at the same time the greatest challenge in the future will be a rapidly aging population, reports ELTA. Currently, residents over 65 years of age account for around 16 percent of the population, but by 2060 the number will double. Obviously, the parallel trend of a decreasing number of working age people will continue. From the current 67 percent proportion, this will decline to 55 percent. Chief Analyst at Swedbank Nerijus Maciulis says that such a change will have at least two negative consequences on the economy. First, as the number of socially supported people will grow and the number of working people decline, it will be more difficult to balance the state’s finances. Secondly, due to a shrinking labor force, the country’s economic potential will get weaker. Such loss of potential may partially be offset by increasing investment and improving the education system, thereby raising productivity.

At the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting on May 27 in Brussels, Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius called for support in finding a political solution to the crisis in Syria. The Foreign Affairs Council meeting also discussed the possible export of arms to Syria, reports ELTA. “The Council agreed to adopt restrictive measures on Syria. When deciding to supply military equipment to the opposition, member states shall proceed in their national policies, assessing the export license applications on a case-by-case basis, taking full account of the criteria set out in Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of December 8, 2008… Member states will not proceed at this stage with the delivery of military equipment,” Linkevicius said. The Minister reminded the participants about his visit to the Middle East the previous week and that all the stakeholders were very cautious about the possibility to lift arms embargo. “We must ensure that these arms do not fall in the hands of many different terrorist groups. As a result, there will be casualties among civil population, what we would like to avoid,” Linkevicius said.