Williams deal cuts into EU support

  • 2002-09-19

A decision by the U.S. energy firm Williams International to pull out of Lithuania contributed to a two percentage point drop in support in the Baltic state in September for European Union membership when compared with July, the Vilmorus agency said Sept. 17.

"Public opinion staggered because of the discussions related to the withdrawal of Williams from Mazeikiu Nafta refinery," Vladas Gaidys, head of Vilmorus said, after 52.8 percent of Lithuanians said they would vote "yes" to EU membership in the Sept. 5-8 poll.

In July 54.5 percent said they were in favor.

Gaidys said that despite the fact that Williams is a U.S. company and has nothing to do with the EU, Lithuanians are sensitive to the actions of international investors.

The poll showed the number of those who would vote against joining the EU increased 2.1 points to 22.6 percent in September.

Another 24.6 percent of Lithuanians said they were undecided on the country's EU bid, compared with 25 percent in July.