The former president of Lithuania, and now the deputy of the European Parliament Rolandas Paksas has drawn sad conclusions of the Lithuanian independence – for 27 years nothing has been done. Every year, the number of people decreases, and the remaining ones face difficult live. With such an address ex-president appealed to the press, the parliamentary correspondent of BALTNEWS.lt reports.
“We celebrate the 27th anniversary of the restoration of the independence of the state with a bridge that has not yet been built across the Curonian Lagoon, but the bridge is nothing if for so many years we have not even been able to build a flyover in Rusna, which floods annually.
We solemnly meet this anniversary with the Lukyshsky Square, which has not been put in order, in Vilnius. With the Gediminas tower closed (for visitors – ed.), since the mountain itself is closed too. Without a monument to the people’s patriarch Jonas Basanavicius, but with a pipe near the river Nyaris.
We meet this anniversary with one of the smallest pensions among all the countries of the European Union, with one of the lowest salaries and with almost the lowest birth rate in Europe.
Of course, if we assess the situation in more detail, we can notice much greater problems, which are especially felt by the inhabitants of our country. We have a very large social inequality. Very high unemployment. And I don’t even want to compare the prices for medicines.
In the city centers there are big shopping centers. The prices in them, if we compare them with the incomes of citizens, are also quite high. We have very high expenses for households: expensive heating and a tax on the coil.
We also have so-called “big” problems – athletes who become champions without large arenas, stadiums and swimming pools, which we won’t be able to build and rebuild for 27 years of independence.
Why Latvia and Estonia, who regained their independence later than Lithuania today are ahead of us in terms of living standards, and we are weaving behind? Why is the average salary in Estonia one third larger and is almost 1120 euros, and the average pension is almost 150 euros more? Why in Latvia and in Estonia the scale of emigration is much less than we have?
These are the questions that every politician in our state who is thinking about its establishment should seek answers. Thinking of it not as a territory, but as a house, which is built in order to the born and growing up generation would live well here. Thinking of the state as a home for its residents, but not as a place for life distributed according to the quotas of migrants from the Middle East”, says Rolandas Paksas.
Unemployment and low salaries are the main cause of mass emigration of Lithuanian residents. According to the results of 2016, 51 thousand people declared their departure from the country – this is by 6.4 thousand (14.5%) more than in 2015. At the beginning of this year there are 2 million 849 thousand permanent residents in Lithuania – it is 39.2 thousand less (1.4%) than a year ago.
Thus, emigration has acquired a completely mass character. According to unofficial statistics, 4-5 people leave the country every hour, 100-120 per day. Meanwhile, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs predicts that the rate of population loss in Lithuania in 2017 will be 125 people a day.
The latest Eurostat data on the situation in Lithuania show that 29% of residents are on the verge of poverty, and the situation in the country has not changed for eight years. At the same time, Lithuania is among the record holders of the EU in terms of the number of employees working for meager salaries. Despite the increase in the minimum wage, which is already 380 euros, it still remains one of the smallest in Europe, while the price increase is not proportional to the growth of wages. Opinion polls indicate that 59% of Lithuanians believe that life in the country is gradually deteriorating.
On the eve of the deputy head of the Central Bank of Lithuania, Raymondas Kuodis, in vain said that Lithuania’s economy is in a state of dying. GDP growth does not reflect real trends. According to him, today the state is slowly dying out – it is virtually impossible to prevent this process.