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#1 2018-04-27 09:42:27

gsnoopy520
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Registered: 2018-01-06
Posts: 84

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VILNIUS, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Lithuania is losing its strategic direction with many important decisions and structural reforms being postponed by the country's authorities, President Dalia Grybauskaite warned on Thursday.


"The state is losing its strategic direction -- in many areas we are going round and round, stuck in the same routine," Grybauskaite said during her state of nation address at the parliament.


According to her, Lithuania has developed a great potential to grow and is "filled with expectations for a better life".


"This time seems to be as favourable as never before for Lithuania," the head of state said.


"However, people are asking politicians, quite rightly, why they do not see the results of economic growth in their everyday lives," she added.


The European Commission recently noted that reform progress in Lithuania has been limited recently, Grybauskaite reminded.


She warned that the moment of economic stability "may be lost if we fail to notice troubling signs."


"Entangled in the mire of corruption, we are losing the ability to think and act in the spirit of statesmanship," the president continued.


"Today we cannot afford the luxury to watch how the momentum for national development is slowing down," she stressed.


In her words, strategic decisions are vital for Lithuania's success, however, "only the art of creating working groups has been mastered."


Grybauskaite blamed the politicians for increased spending to finance experts' work and feasibility studies. According to the president, the current Lithuanian government has increased its spending for experts by 35 times.


"Regrettably, even after such investments, we have to admit strategic incompetence," Grybauskaite said.


Among her recommendations for the country, Grybauskaite mentioned reducing poverty and social exclusion, reform of the pension system, addressing demographic problems, improving tax collection, introducing more flexible labour rules, developing innovations.


Social safety is another major challenge in Lithuania, Grybauskaite said, with children abused in their homes, women suffering from domestic violence and dozens of thousands of people "entrapped in the quagmire of addiction" such as alcoholism.


Grybauskaite welcomed Lithuania's efforts in the areas of security, energy independence, and financial responsibility. In her words, energy independence is "already mirrored in decreasing electricity and gas prices."


"We have developed a great potential to grow and we are firmly at the doorstep of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) -- a club of economically strong and reliable countries," the president underlined.


According to Grybauskaite, "neither Brussels nor strategic partners are responsible for the quality of our state governance."


"It is from politicians that we first have to demand sound decisions that meet our national interests," she stressed.


The president called for maintaining direction towards further integration with the European Union and NATO.


"This is what I expect from the next government," Grybauskaite said.


Lithuania faces national elections this fall.


Meanwhile, Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said the president's address was aimed at the upcoming elections and lacked the overview of the presidential activities.


"I evaluate this as an address aimed at the upcoming election so that the government would be criticized even more and the public would believe in certain untruths that were hereby revealed and would negatively assess the ruling majority during the election," Butkevicius was quoted as saying by ELTA news agency.


He stressed that his cabinet increased the minimum monthly wage several times, while the average wage has been growing rapidly and unemployment decreased twofold.


"These are facts that cannot be denied by anyone," the head of the government said.


Furthermore, Butkevicius added that he expected the president to focus more on Lithuania's foreign policy and its accomplishments.


Meanwhile, Loreta Grauziniene, speaker of Lithuanian parliament, noted that the president highlighted problems people facing in their everyday life.


"Everyone makes a personal assessment but what has to be said must be said; the truth can hurt but it must be heard," Grauziniene told reporters after meeting with the president on Thursday.

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