Sir GHI

Ago, Ergo Sum!

Lithuania and the feeling of eternal backlogs


Last week, along with a group of colleagues from the Secretariat of the Parliament of the Moldovan, we found ourselves , Lithuania, in an exchange program. The program was organized by the International Republican Institute (IRI).

The agenda consisted of meetings with representatives of the Seim (Lithuanian Parliament) Speaker and Secretary of the Parliament, members of the Commission for Foreign Policy, representatives of all parliamentary parties, Member of Parliament assistants, as well NGO representatives. I learned a lot about Lithuania, in particular about political and economical issues during their European Integration, their achievements in different areas, and the problems they faced.

Lithuanian Parliament has 141 Members. Current legislature is composed of representatives of five political parties. Deputies hold as well portfolios of ministers. Each Member has three assistants. One with political responsibilities within the party to which it belongs the deputy. The other two are apolitical, having a continuing career no matter which party is leading the government.

The political life represents an advanced democracy. The largest opposition party is leading a “shadow government” that is criticizing the governance irregularities and is proposing alternative solutions at the same time. Surprisingly, many of their suggestions are accepted by the real government.

Lithuania’s economy has experienced a sustained growth , which can be mainly attributed to their ability of attracting European funds. Lithuania boasts the highest amount per capita in terms of European funds. To encourage companies to hire young professionals, some of them coming straight out of university, the government allocates to each company a certain amount of money, which covers the costs for preparing that employee, so that it reaches the level for being employed . Another success is the introduction of the Euro currency starting January 1st 2015.

Local administration currently it is not divided in districts, so the state budget is distributed to municipalities. By the year 2020 there are going to be some form of territorial administration of localities. Lithuania’s EU accession to the European Union was thundering. It joined the EU in 2004, and NATO the same year in 2004

Lithuania grants annually 0.8% of the state budget to the army. During July-December 2013, Lithuania has held for the first time the EU Council Presidency. At the end of this mandate with a strong support of Lithuania, Moldova has sealed an Association Agreement with the EU at the Vilnius Summit.

The largest ethnic minorities in Lithuania are Polish (8%) and Russian (7%). Ethnic minorities have TV channels (recently some Russian TV channels were banned because of misinformation about the situation in Ukraine) in their languages. In schools and universities Lithuanians knew how to protect and enforce their own language, in spite of a long russification process during the Soviet Union. For example, although the ethnic minorities schools courses are taught in their native language the baccalaureate exam is only held in Lithuanian language. According to Lithuanian laws it is forbidden to issue official documents in any other language than the official one, Lithuanian. On the streets, in shops, public transportation, and public space everything is written in Lithuanian. However, based on my knowledge, with even modest Russian language abilities, I have realized that Lithuanians, with the exception of the younger generation, speak Russian language well maybe even better than many Moldovans.

Although Lithuania  is situated in close proximity to the Russian Federation, having a common border, its foreign policy in relation to Russian Federation it is firm and free of intimidation, possibly because of the safety provided by NATO and the EU. There is only one concern in in their relations with the Russian Federation: the pipeline gas that crosses the country. This situation generates energy dependence on Russia.

Conclusions

We were brothers of suffering with Lithuanians. They do understand well the problems we are facing. The difference however is that they are moving forward in a galloping pace and at one point they will not understand us anymore. It is only our duty to learn from their experience and not only that, but to implement reforms that apply to us. To be tenacious, cold-blooded and hardworking at work, whatever it may be. Visits and exchanges are only useful when the experience gained is used at home, and does not turn out to be just simple trips.

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April 22, 2014 - Posted by | Economie, Educație, Politică, Social | ,

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