The ex-Baltic tiger will join the Frankfurt-based banking arena on January 1st, 2015. How are Lithuania’s preparations for joining the eurozone unfolding? How are citizens reacting to this new currency? Cafébabel went on the ground to gain a better understanding of the preparations. Inflation, economic development, identity loss, opening up to the European market…Lithuanians think […]
Roma on Education and ‘Missing England’
Less than 3,000 Roma live in Lithuania. Representing 0.1% of the population, there are still enough Baltic 'gypsies' to serve as a scapegoat in a country feeling squeezed by the crisis. However, in one Lithuanian village, Romualda, Svetlana, Konstant..
Ladies Who Oppose Belarus in Vilnius
Belarus is just 40 kilometres away from the Lithuanian capital. Belarusian human rights campaigners use Vilnius as an asylum and distribution centre - yet the Lithuanian president keeps up a good relationship with the Belarusian despot. The centre..
Lithuanians Try Luck Elsewhere
Whilst Vilnius welcomes visitors from around the world because of its status as the European capital of culture 2009, countless are leaving the country in an attempt to escape widespread unemployment and salaries which are under the European average ..
California of the East
From a distance, the small two-storey building melts into the grey of Vilnius' northwestern suburbs. Once past the modest entrance and a small EU flag sticker you only need to go up a few stairs to discover a dozen high-tech laboratories. These belon..
Lithuania is resisting the rising unpopularity of marriage a bit more compared to other countries in Europe. A tenacity that has been carefully held by the quite influential church who suffers at the idea of sacrificing its main institution on the altar of ‘new social tendencies’. An interview between Vilnius, Kaunas and an imbroglio of […]
As a result of 2008 crisis, unemployment pushed a significant amount of young Lithuanians to try their luck abroad. After a peak in 2010, the flow seemed to slow little by little. Now, there is even the return of these expatriates, pushed by government policies for their return as much as by improving economic conditions. […]
Less than 3,000 Roma live in Lithuania. Representing 0.1% of the population, there are still enough Baltic ‘gypsies’ to serve as a scapegoat in a country feeling squeezed by the crisis. However, in one Lithuanian village, Romualda, Svetlana, Konstantin and Konsuela are helping the community to lift its head. ‘If you meet a Roma, there […]
Belarus is just 40 kilometres away from the Lithuanian capital. Belarusian human rights campaigners use Vilnius as an asylum and distribution centre – yet the Lithuanian president keeps up a good relationship with the Belarusian despot. The centre is so hidden that even the KGB hadn’t yet found it: who would voluntarily go along the […]
There is nothing more multicultural in Lithuania right now than the new library which opened in the capital of this Baltic state on 16 December. The concept is simple: all books, films and music must be about either a Jewish subject, writer or artist Films by Steven Spielberg will sit side by side with religious […]
6.7% Polish, 6.3% Russian, 1.2% Belarusian, 0.7% Ukrainian, 0.1% Yiddish, 0.09% Tartar… approximately 115 communities of ethnic minorities were listed in this vein in a 2001 census in Lithuania. How integrated are these groups in local society? One way of finding out is by hitting the tiles. They go to separate schools. They have never […]
An increasing number of students are asking professor Žilvinas Martinaitis at the University of Vilnius to let them take their exams at the end of May. This would allow them to go abroad – most popularly, to the UK, Ireland or Scandinavia – to work, and return with some extra money in October, a month […]
The River Neris splits Vilnius down the middle: to the North – campuses of various universities, stadiums and terraces with views; to the south is the heart of the capital: cobbled, colourful, and impeccable. But a sinister notice hangs from one of its bridges, followed by a telephone number. ‘There are people who care about […]
It wasn’t the economic weakness of the crisis but the ideological one that harmed Europe most. Who wanted to be be part of the dominoes in the name of solidarity? Unfortunately, the dominoes of each member state provoked nationalist reactions. The region comprising the Lithuanian capital is one of the few cities where two nations […]
Whilst Vilnius welcomes visitors from around the world because of its status as the European capital of culture 2009, countless are leaving the country in an attempt to escape widespread unemployment and salaries which are under the European average for the most part. Following its adhesion to the EU in 2004, and the freedom of […]
Twenty years after the Iron Curtain, the Baltic tiger is experiencing a bout of nostalgia. A young, trendy generation, fed up of hearing about the past, is looking back at a not-quite-so ‘carefree’ childhood under the soviet regime. ‘The transition left me stunned. I was a teenager back then. When I watch archive material from […]
From 88% nuclear energy in 1993, the Baltic country used just 26% in 2007. The intervening 14 years saw its entry into EU and a dramatic increase in energy dependence on Russia. Lithuania is relying on Europe to guarantee its energy security but what is the answer? Nuclear, renewable or both? In 1993, Lithuania beat […]
The decision was taken: the European humanities university, created in Minsk, Belarus in 1992, packed up to join Vilnius (and democracy) in 2004. In this oasis of free education, Belarusian youth have been exiled further and further to the west. One morning in May 2009, an unexpected calm reigns over the bus station in Vilnius. […]
In Lithuanian law, the term ‘common good’ does not exist. This is in spite of the fact that in 1997, the Treaty of Amsterdam introduced this idea into the Treaty of Rome, making it a reality in the European sphere. The small Baltic country, which has been a member of the EU since May 2004, […]
Since the financial crisis at the end of the nineties, business and media have gone hand in hand. Monopolising circumstances and media moguls dominate the local market. Politics and economics pay for positive news coverage and those who criticise the system are openly defamed. ‘In this picture I look like Putin,’ says Rytis Juozapavičius, pointing […]
In Lithuania people must pay for access to the public health system. Many medical specialists receive informal ‘under-the-table’ payments to give priority or better treatment to generous patients. This is the way things are in many countries in eastern Europe as well as some outside that region, but in a small territory like Lithuania, the situation […]
‘We face the typical problems that a country as young as this faces,’ says Kęstutis Kaminskas, a professor and educational advisor for the Committee on Education, Science and Culture in the Lithuanian parliament. We meet in the new building currently being extended into a press centre and conference hall. ‘We can’t change how professors think overnight. More than […]
From a distance, the small two-storey building melts into the grey of Vilnius’ northwestern suburbs. Once past the modest entrance and a small EU flag sticker you only need to go up a few stairs to discover a dozen high-tech laboratories. These belong to the Lithuanian company EKSPLA, owner of some of the most cutting-edge […]
Vilnius is booming. Not far from the Old Town, the city’s new skyline is glinting in the sun on the north bank of the river Neris. Between the glass facades of the skyscrapers, shoppers are scurrying around on marble pavements. Hardly thirty paces further there is a building site. Noisy builders are working on the […]
It’s nighttime in Vilnius, with temperatures minus 30°. A neon light shines dimly from the second floor of an apartment block. ‘It’s there.’ Eduardas Platovas points a finger to the square of light, home to his struggle for more than a decade. Surrounded by concrete and half-light, the headquarters of the Lithuanian Lesbian and Gay […]
Boxes full of provisions are tucked away just under the roof of a deep refrigerated warehouse in Clondalkin, 20 minutes outside of Dublin, the Irish capital. Temperatures here are below 15 degrees Celsius. Vytautas Šlivinskas is wearing special clothes to protect him from the cold. Today his job is to repack pizza and ice-cream for […]
The bright and inviting foyer to the old Skalvija cinema on the bank of the Neris seems to be glowing. Inside, young people keep warm in the newly constructed ‘Bruce Lee’ café. The walls are freshly painted and every table is occupied. The visitors are awaiting the next showing of Murderball, a sentimental documentary about […]