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LITHUANIA

NEWS REPORT
 

 

In-depth Business Intelligence

Key Economic Data 
 
  2002 2001 2000 Ranking(2002)
GDP
Millions of US $ 13,796 12,000 11,300 78
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 3,660 3,350 3,080 83
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Lithuania

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
65,200 

Population 
3,592,561 

Principal 
ethnic groups 
Lithuanians 81.3%
Russians 8.4%
Poles 7.0%

Capital
Vilnius 

Currency 
Litas

President
Valdas Adamkus

  

Update No: 287 - (29/11/04)

New government forms
Lithuania will have a new centre-left coalition government that includes the opposition Labour Party under a power-sharing deal concluded on 3 November in the wake of the inconclusive 24 October elections. Under the deal, the coalition of the Social Democrats and the Social Liberals will be joined by the Labour Party of Russian-born businessman Viktor Uspaskich. 
In the 24 October elections, the Social Democrat-Social Liberal alliance garnered 31 seats, the Labour Party 39 seats and the right-wing Conservative and Liberal Centre Union parties together 43 seats in the 141-seat parliament (Seimas). The deal would give a bare majority to the new coalition.
"The Labour Party will be just like a partner, but in no way a dominating force and this will guarantee the continuity of government which is what Brussels is looking and hoping for," said Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas. His reference was to widespread fears that through his one-year-old populist Labour Party, Uspaskich would seek to revive Russia's influence in Lithuania. Uspaskich himself has repeatedly denied this.

Continuity on EU policy preserved
Also on 3 November, the Lithuanian government decided to ratify the new European Constitution in parliament rather than in a referendum.
Lithuania's new government should ensure continued pro-European Union policy in the Baltic state. Brazauskas told national radio it was an "agreement to work together for the benefit of Lithuania," whose future commitment to the EU and NATO, which it joined this year, had appeared in the balance after Labour won most votes, but not enough for an outright win.
Brazauskas, who hopes to take the fast-growing country into the Euro currency in 2006/2007, had initially sought an alliance with the Conservatives and the Peasants Party - but not in one vital matter.
Lithuania has taken over from Bulgaria the unenviable role of being the premier producer of counterfeit Euro money in Europe. The seizure of nine million in counterfeit Euros in Kaunas is thought to be just the tip of an iceberg here.
Lithuania's neighbour, the Russian enclave, Kaliningrad, is a major smuggling centre in Northern Europe and criminal activity abounds there. This has had an unfortunate effect on Lithuania itself. White-collar crime is rife there. 
In most other respects the republic is an exemplary EU entrant. Growth of GDP is bounding up in high single-figure rates per year. Its $18 billion economy grew 9.7 percent last year, the fastest pace in Europe, and expanded 7.2 percent in the first half of 2004. Inward FDI is soaring at a similarly giddy pace. Not for nothing is it becoming known as 'the Baltic tiger.'

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ENERGY

Lithuania to build gas pipeline to Russia's Kaliningrad


Lithuania will build a new 63 km long gas pipeline on its territory to Kaliningrad Region, Jonas Janulionis, technical director of the Lietuvos Dujos [Lithuanian gas] national operator of gas networks, said, ITAR-TASS News Agency, has reported.
German, Polish, Belarusian and Lithuanian companies are taking part in the tender for the construction of the pipeline's branch from Kaunas to the town of Sakiai on the border with Kaliningrad Region. Janulionis explained the project by "the growing scale of energy transit to Russia's Kaliningrad Region." He said that 600m cu.m. of gas received from Russia's natural gas monopoly Gazprom will be imported by transit to the region. 
The construction of the gas pipeline branch will begin in January 2005. The project will be funded by Lietuvos Dujos in the hope that "the investments will be covered by the money received for gas export to Kaliningrad," Janulionis said. 
The Ruhrgas German concern owns 38.9 per cent of the Lithuanian company's shares, Gazprom 37.1 per cent and Lithuania's State Property Fund 17.7 per cent.

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