In July, 17 percent of those polled stated that over the previous two months the economic situation had improved in Lithuania; 56 percent said that it remained unchanged, while 23 percent indicated that the situation worsened, reports ELTA. The poll was conducted from July 15-30 by pollster Baltijos Tyrimai. Lithuania’s economic situation was more often better assessed by men, those under 50, respondents with higher education and those earning the largest household income (more than 2,500 litas or 725 euros per month), also by public servants and students. Similarly as in the past, less satisfied with the economic situation were those over 50, residents of rural areas and the unemployed. According to the same survey, 12 percent of adults assessed their household financial situation as improved, 22 percent stated that it worsened, while 65 percent said that in two months the economic situation did not change. More frequently unhappy with the financial situation of their household are people older than 30, residents of rural areas and small towns, the unemployed.
At a working dinner with Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius, President Dalia Grybauskaite urged the government to draft a special long-term development program for Lithuania’s eastern region, which is populated by a considerable number of ethnic minorities, reports ELTA. “Having in mind eastern Lithuania, a special program should be established and special funding allocated, similarly to what was done just after [restoration of] independence, which helped the region develop. Unfortunately, after some time we thought this was no longer necessary, but now we know that the region is becoming geopolitically sensitive and others will invest in it if we will not do this ourselves,” Grybauskaite told the media after the meeting. The ‘others’ mentioned could refer to foreign investors who may not be especially interested in Lithuania’s positive development or stability. The president highlighted that representatives of ethnic minorities are Lithuanian citizens, thus, paying due attention to them is necessary.
After some trade unions of educational employees threatened to hold strikes, Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius established a working group which will look for solutions to improve the quality of education and working conditions for teachers, reports ELTA. The working group, which will be headed by Minister of Education and Science Dainius Pavalkis, will include representatives of the Ministry of Social Security and Labor, Ministry of Finance, as well as social partners. The working group will gather for the first sitting on Sept. 3, and will address issues such as education quality, effectiveness, improvement of teachers’ social situation and reform of the network of general education establishments. Butkevicius will attend the meeting. Three trade unions say they are ready to organize strikes. Demands include: reinstating education vouchers and basic monthly salaries to levels prior to 2009; reduce the number of children in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools.