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LITHUANIA


 

 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 18,213 13,796 12,000 74
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 4,490 3,660 3,350 74
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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Update No: 317 - (30/05/07)

Lithuania and Poland celebrate the first constitution in Europe
Lithuania is redolent with history. It once in the Middle Ages had an empire stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Muscovy put a stop to that. The Lithuanians then joined up with the Poles in the Union of Lublin in 1569. That was later dissolved, as Poland was dismembered and Lithuania was absorbed by Tsarist Russia; but the two peoples are closely entwined to this day.

Lithuania and Poland held a joint celebration of the signing of the constitution of the Republic of Two Nations on May 2nd. It was the first time that the two countries have ever celebrated the event together. The 1791 Lithuanian-Polish constitution was the first document of its kind in Europe - a fact of which both countries are proud. 

In a speech commemorating the event, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus noted that "remembering the works of our ancestors lets spread and nourish the democratic ideas and defend the civil rights that were the biggest virtue at the time already. Let's protect this virtue by respecting our past. And together lets remember that faithfulness for ideas of the first written European constitution today means the joint responsibility for the future of united and strong Europe."

In Poland, the Lithuanian-Polish Constitution Day is one of the biggest national holidays.

Lithuania reacts to Tallinn events
Lithuania has a special relationship to the two other Baltic states too' President Adamkus said his country supports the position of the Estonian government in its recent moves related to the controversial Bronze Soldier monument, which was removed from central Tallinn on April 27th during two nights of rioting. Speaking from the Vatican, where he was meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, the president said he was observing the developments in Tallinn with great concern.

The president's press service reported that Adamkus stressed that this exceptionally sensitive procedure of reburying the remains of World War II soldiers was being conducted observing international legal standards and paying due respect to the fallen.

However some Lithuanian politicians on April 28 had expressed fear that the riots that broke out in Tallinn over the removal of the Bronze Soldier monument would spread to Lithuania as well. "The situation is very bad. What happened is no special provocation. The events are related to a certain interior policy of Russia, political competition. Any method must go to boost popularity. At the time when a peaceful demonstration was taking place in St. Petersburg, ultra-nationalists gathered to a meeting in Moscow. Their leader was making instigations to bomb Estonia down to hell, and the crowd was cheering. That is shocking," the Vakaru Ekspresas daily quotes member of the European Parliament Gintaras Didziokas saying.

In his opinion, Russia's response was inadequate and intolerable. "They say they are the only fighters against fascists. That is absolutely wrong. But the Estonians are equally stubborn, failing to start a dialogue with Russia over the disassembly of the monument. The Russians can really end diplomatic ties, anything can be expected from them. Russia has too much large-sized equity in Estonia, and the economical relations are much better than, say, with Lithuania," Didziokas said.

Chairman of the Lithuanian delegation at the Baltic Assembly Valerijus Simulikas told the Vakaru Ekspresas newspaper that Estonians should have allowed more time for a diplomatic dialogue with Russia. "Estonians ran out of patience. We at the Assembly said that they must proceed via the diplomatic way. But they did not even make up any work group on removal of the monument. They knew the consequences. Now the commotion may jump to the [other] Baltic states. A diplomatic war will go on, and Russians will employ every opportunity. Diplomatic sanctions are possible, too," the Member of Parliament said.

Lithuanian speaker criticises Estonia for Soviet monument row
The Lithuanian position was nuanced, however, by the fact that the Lithuanian parliament speaker Viktoras Muntianas criticised Estonian authorities for the poor preparation of the dismantlement of the monument to the Soviet Liberator Soldier in Tallinn. this happened in early May. 

He urged everyone to understand that Russian people will never agree to the interpretation of the monument to Soviet soldiers as a symbol of occupation. In an interview with radio Ziniu Radias, Muntianias said, "It is very hard for an ordinary Russian person to understand speeches where liberation [from Nazi fascists] is linked to occupation." 

Speaking about the Soviet Liberator Soldier in Tallinn, he said, "The consequences of these actions were not properly forecast." 

Lithuania: the impact of the 'Atlantic approach' in the field of strategic and economical security 
A team of authors from the 'Centre for International and Strategic Studies' in Washington and of the 'Institute for International Relations and Political Science' of Vilnius had foreseen, some time before Lithuania joined both the EU and NATO (2004), that the country was heading towards integration into the Western security system. 

A 'White Paper' regarding Lithuania's foreign and security policies explained the two mechanisms that needed to be implemented in order to reach this objective. Establishing bilateral agreements with former Warsaw Pact countries, encouraged by the common interest in joining the EU, would, together with the building of security structures, assure the development of a stable country: integrated, from the economical point of view, in the European Union and, from political and military points of view, in NATO.

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