Books on Lithuania
Update No: 294 - (28/06/05)
The Lithuanians are alarmed at what is going on in Europe.
They simply cannot imagine why the French and the Dutch do not realise their
good luck to be part of the most successful venture in the continent's history.
They are delighted by their inclusion in the EU, which is proving to be a huge
success story. Their farmers are finding their incomes soaring, even if not
quite by the 50% of their neighbouring Polish farmers, as they qualify for CAP
subsidies, while a vast new market beckons for their manufacturers.
Lithuania, Russia sign deal on joint development of 2 ports
For this new sea-ports are needed. Russia and Lithuania signed an agreement
recently on a joint development of two sea-ports -Russian Kaliningrad and
Lithuanian Klaipeda, Itar-Tass News Agency recently reported.
"An instruction of the Russian government to work up a draft project of
that agreement was issued back in 2003, but we cold sign it only now,"
Russian Transport Minister, Igor Levitin, said after the signing ceremony.
According to Levitin, it took the two countries a long time to work out a draft
agreement that would suit both sides. The agreement envisages the distribution
of cargo flows to optimally utilise the capacity of both ports.
"A decision was also reached to organise a joint container train which will
be made up in two ports and then go to Moscow," Levitin added. He admitted
that the itinerary of the train could be extended in the future to Vladivostok.
They named the train Mercury, after the god of trade.
Apart from signing the agreement, the two countries discussed transit cargo
tariffs. Russia and Lithuania have remained in disagreement on that issue since
March. Lithuania has thrice voiced a bid to increase tariffs on transit across
its territory, which would make the cargoes going to the Kaliningrad enclave
much more expensive.
Education does the mind good in Lithuania
Belarus' only private university, closed by the authoritarian regime of
President Alexander Lukashenka last August for fostering an intellectual elite,
plans to re-open in Lithuania, Deutsche presse-Agnetur (dpa) said recently.
A conference on June 9-10 in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius. officially
announced the restoration of the European Humanitaries University (EHU). "I
would like to believe we will actually open in the autumn," the
university's former reactor, Dr Antoli Mikhailov, said. Mikhailov, now president
of RHU International, a public institution based in Vilnius, said earlier that
former teachers and students of the university as well as representatives of
sponsor institutions were expected to take part in the conference.
Major financial backers that planned to attend the conference were the President
of the MacArthur Foundation, Jonathan Fanton, representatives of the Open
Society Foundation, Eurasia Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the
European Commission and other institutions that supported the EHU while it
operated in Minsk. According to Mikhailov, to fully re-establish its activities
the university needs an annual budget of some US$4.5m. Lithuania, which
supported the nationalist movement of neighbouring Belarus after the fall of the
Soviet Union, sheltered the EHU's leadership when its licence was withdrawn.
Since October 1, 2004 several staff members have been working at EHU
international, a "university in exile" based in the heart of Vilnius.
Two Lithuanian universities have partnered with EHU International, while the
government has promised to allocate premises for the future EHU campus in
Vilnius. Mikhailov said Lithuanian Prime Minster, Algirdas Brazauskas, who
received an honorary doctor from the EHU in 2000, was very willing and positive
when the rector addressed him for help.
The Lithuanian government said of the EHU in Vilnius that it would not hurt its
relationship with Belarus. "We think the opening of the EHU in Vilnius is
not going to affect negatively bilateral relations," a Ministry of Foreign
Affairs spokesman told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa). "On the contrary, our
aim is to promote the cooperation of the civil societies of Lithuania and
Belarus. This is the same aim of the EHU."
Recently, former Vilnius University rector Rolandas Pavilionis, who represents
Lithuania in the European Parliament, submitted a resolution to the parliament,
urging EU countries to support the EHU. "The reopening of the university is
the best news in the past year," said Maryia Ramanova, an EHU philosophy
student, who is now continuing her studies in Germany. Masha Nesterova, another
EHU philosophy student, said she was very happy to hear the university is
reopening in Lithuania and expressed her readiness to continue her studies in
"I am sure that this event has a great meaning not only in the university
activities, but also for the Belarussian people."Mikhailov said that about
180 students out of the total of 1,000 who studied at the EHU are now
successfully continuing their studies in different universities worldwide. Up to
300 students are expected to renew their studies in Vilnius the coming autumn.
EHU was founded in 1992 by a group of academics and the Belarussian Orthodox
Church to revive European values and establish a civil society in the former
Within the decade of operation, the university grew form 67 to 1,000 students
and gained international recognition. However, the values that were pursued by
the university did not go in line with the official ideology of the presidential
regime. In January 2004, Rector Mikhailov was called on to resign. When he did
not obey the regime, the government terminated the lease of the University's
premises and revoked its licence on August 1st, 2004 on the grounds of
insufficient classroom space.
Presdient Lukashenka later revealed in one of his speeches the real reason for
the university's closure, saying its goal was to create "the new
Belarussian elite" to lead the country to the West.
TNK-BP wants stake in Mazeikiu Nafta
TNK-BP's top managers recently reiterated the company's intention to
purchase a stake in Lithuanian concern, Mazeikiu Nafta (MN), Itar-Tass News
The statement was made during a meeting with Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas
Brazauskas and President Valdas Adamkus. TNK-BP's Executive Director German Khan
said the parties did not canvass either the terms, or the procedures of buying
out the majority stake in MN from YUKOS, but TNK-BP may offer a good price for
Mazeikiu Nafta comprises the Baltic's sole refinery - Mazeikiu, Nutinge's oil
terminal, the Baltic Sea and Naftotiekis pipeline enterprise. YUKOS holds 53.7%
in MN via the Netherlands YUKOS finance arm BV, so it may dispose of the asset,
although the better part of its property has been seized under the suits of
Russia's tax authorities and of Yuganskneftegaz. The Lithuanian government owns
40.66% in MN.
When meeting the Lithuanian authorities, TNK-BP President Robert Dadly and Khan
confirmed the company's desire to buy out from YUKOS its stake in the MN as well
as the intention to proceed with renewal of Mazeikiu refinery and ensure its
full capacity utilisation. Now Mazeikiu refinery gets crude from TNK-BP and
LUKoil, which is also seeking a stake in the Lithuanian consortium, as Russian
authorities denied any export quotas to YUKOS for the second quarter.
Brazauskas said that TNK-BP would be an acceptable investor for the MN in case
it succeeds in the YUKOS tender or gets the stocks otherwise.
Baltic transit talks bear fruit
Russia and Lithuania solved a number of important problems of the
Kaliningrad (the Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea) transit, Russian Foreign
Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said after the recent talks with his Lithuanian
counterpart, Antanas Valionis, the Russian media reported.
"We are satisfied with the results of the talks. We believe they will
promote solutions to certain problems, simplify contacts between our citizens
and bolster Russian-Lithuanian business cooperation," Lavrov told
journalists. According to him, the sides achieved agreement on easing veterinary
FOOD & DRINK
Danisco targets sugar output in Lithuania
Danisco will discontinue sugar beet processing at the Kursenai facility in order
to boost the efficiency optimisation of the group's co-owned Lithuanian sugar
operations, the Danish company said in a statement, New Europe reported
The move to concentrate the co-owned sugar operations in Lithuania will trigger
better competitiveness, as planned when Danisco joined the Lithuanian sugar
industry in 1998, read the statement. This will be done by transferring the
activities of the Kursenai facility to the sugar factories at Panevezys and
Kedainiai, which have been upgraded to handle the extra beet volume involved. A
comprehensive social plan has been developed to support the some 130 people
employed at the Kursenai facility in their transition to new jobs, the company
"Ever since we started up in Lithuania, we have been committed to
streamlining the set-up. Over the past few years, we have succeeded in bringing
the Panevezys and Kedainiai factories up to the high efficiency and product
quality standards of Danisco's other sugar operations, also significantly
enhancing environmental performance. By gathering production at these 2
factories we will achieve further efficiency required to support the continued
viability of the Lithuanian sugar industry," said Michael Persson, vice
president, Danisco Sugar.
"It is paramount for us to ensure fair treatment of our Kursenai employees
and minimum inconvenience to our other stakeholders. To ensure a smooth
transition and give the best possible support and starting point for the
employees in finding new jobs, almost every employee is given the possibility to
work with dismantling during the closure period. To minimise any inconvenience
to our beet growers we will continue to operate the beet reception facility at
Kursenai during the 2005 campaign to provide an alternative to delivering
directly to the Panevezys facility," Persson explained.
The group said that in line with Danisco's social policy, current employees at
Kursenai will be eligible to benefit from a wide range of support options,
including training opportunities, various types of financial assistance and aid
for business start-up as well as employment during the dismantling period.
"We are thankful for the loyalty and dedication of the Kursenai staff over
the years and will invite each of our employees to an interview in order to
match our support offer to their individual needs," according to Jurgis
Ignotas, factory manager, Kursenai.