Lithuania. The hospitality between Russia and Ukraine at
the beginning of the year prompted the Baltic States to
emphasize the importance of energy security with
independence from Russia. Lithuania agreed with Latvia and Estonia
to plan for the construction of a new nuclear reactor in Ignalina, since the oldest Chernobyl-type reactor has been
closed and the other to be closed by 2009, according to a
settlement with the EU. Lithuania and Sweden initiated a study on
the conditions for an electric cable through the Baltic Sea.
CountryAAH, growth in Lithuania's economy continued to be high, even though
the year's figure was around 8% below the Baltic neighbors'
figures. According to experts, the Lithuanian economy began
to show symptoms of overheating.
The government was hit in the spring by a setback when
the EU Commission declared that Lithuania could not join the euro
cooperation as planned in 2007. By a small margin, Lithuania had
exceeded the threshold for inflation.
A report by the Council of Europe pointed out that Roma,
Jews and Chechens are being discriminated against in Lithuania,
despite the country's new anti-racist laws. Among other
things, some mass media were criticized for contributing to
increased special treatment.
In May, Social Democratic Prime Minister Algirdas
Brazauskas resigned after his fragile coalition collapsed.
Brazauskas left politics after reigning continuously since
2001, a Baltic record, and after a political career that
stretched four decades back in time to the days of the
Soviet system. New head of government became Brazauska's
Social Democratic party brother Gediminas Kirkilas. He was
approved by Parliament in July and formed a coalition
government where the populist Labor Party was put out.
Several of the Labor Party's former ministers were
accused of corruption and the police raided the party's
headquarters. The party considered itself a conspiracy by
the president and the other political elite. The Labor
Party's founder and former leader Viktor Uspaskitj was
wanted internationally after he took refuge in Moscow
following allegations of fraud and tax evasion.