Study days of the EFD Group in Lithuania
"Let the unity bloom"
"Vienybė težydi" ("Let the unity bloom") is the beautiful motto of the Republic of Lithuania where the EFD group met for four days of work, debates and also pleasant moments of discovery and conviviality together.
Study days of the EFD Group in the European Parliament were held in Lithuania from June 4th to 7th on the invitation of Rolandas PAKSAS and Juozas IMBRASAS MEPs. A delegation of fifteen members from all over Europe had in Vilnius an exceptional welcome from their Lithuanian hosts.
Lithuania is one of the newest members of the European Union, with an estimated population of 3.2 million people, located between Russia (Kaliningrad), Belarus, Poland and Latvia. This Baltic country has also received a significant Scandinavian influence. On 11 March 1990, the year before the break-up of the Soviet Union, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare its independence. Prior to the global financial crisis of 2007-2010, Lithuania had one of the fastest growing economies in the EU. In October 1992, Lithuania adopted by referendum a constitution which established a parliamentary democracy.
During these workshops, the delegation of the EFD group has the opportunity to hear and discuss with experts about energy independence and nuclear safety at the borders of the Union, the European sport policy (the Lithuanians are the champions of basketball ball ...), philosophy of European supranational project and the transfer of state sovereignty to the individual, as well as the Soviet past of Lithuania and its exceptional strengths today. MEPs were also received at City Hall by the Mayor of Vilnius, in the Lithuanian Parliament (Seismas) by the Speaker, before visiting the famous Grūtas Park on Soviet history of Lithuania and finally meet the mayor of Druskininkai who presented its dynamic tourism policy.
1st session : "Connecting Europe through Sport"
At the beginning of the 1st working session, Mr Juozas IMBRASAS, MEP, Vice- Chairman of the Order and Justice party said a welcome word to the participants and presented the first expert, Dr. Habil. Algirdas RASLANAS, Vice President of the Lithuanian National Olympic Committee and Head of the Department of Health and Physicial Education, who presented his views on connecting Europe through sport and debated with MEPs.
2nd session : "Energy independence and nuclear safety on EU borders"
The 2nd working session was focused on a Presentation made by Mr Sergey BOYARKIN, Director for Program State atomic corporation "Rosatom" who presented Russia's view on cooperation with the EU in energy and nuclear safety matters. He was followed by Mr Vladas PASKEVICIUS, President of Lithuanian Electricity Association who presented the Importance of grid interconnections between the EU and neighbouring energy systems. This session was concluded by Mr Vidmantas JANKAUSKAS, Professor, Former Chairman of the National Control Commission for Prices and Energy of Lithuania.
3rd session : "Lithuania in the Europe's history"
This third session were held in Vilnius Town Hall, where EFD delegation has been received by Mr Arturas ZUOKAS, Mayor of Vilnius. After a short welcome word by the Mayor, Professor Eugenijus JOVAISA made a complete presentation of Lithuania in the Europe's history.
4th session : "The EU future model and perspectives"
For the last working session held in Vilnius, the EFD MEPs were received in the Lithuanian Parliament by Mrs Irena DEGUTIENE, Speaker of Seimas. During the debate, several Members asked her to present the position of the Lithuanian authorities on different issues : Mr BELDER about the relations with Israël, Mr SPERONI about national sovereignty versus European integration, Mr ALLAM about the Euro crisis and Mr PROVERA about the Fiscal and Budgetary Pact. Mrs DEGUTIENE mainly explained her differences of view with the EFD Members even though she explains that "We don't want to receive instructions from Brussels about tax rates" and seems not to complain at all because Lithuania is not member of the Eurozone. Nevertheless, Speaker of Seimas seems not to be worried as EFD MEPs about the turn things have taken with European integration both economically and democratically and says "the aspiration to stick the Maastricht criterias is our main task."
Then, EFD delegation participated in a workshop on "The EU futur model and perspectives" with Order and Justice political group MPs. This workshop started with an interesting presentation by Mr Povilas GYLYS, Professor of Economics, Habilitated Doctor. According to him, the current transformation of the European democracies reduces them to nothing more than the regime of "freedom of individuals". In favor of a "holist approach", this Economist believes that democracy also means pursuing the national interest, the definition of common good and needs and respect the public interest. Against the individualistic philosophy which is now flattening the world, he defends the maintenance of a hierarchical order, from the individual to Europe, but through the family and the nation. Referring to the unprecedented crisis that swept across Europe, he predicts "The Eurozone will not be the Titanic but Tchernobyl."
5th session : "From Soviet past to modern times"
The last day, the EFD Group delegation went to Grūtas Park in Druskininkai. Unofficially known as "Stalin's World". The exposition, consisting of 86 statues by 46 different sculptors, is organized into spheres. Each of the statues features a Soviet or socialist activist, many of them Lithuanians. The Totalitarian Sphere features sculptures of the main Communist leaders and thinkers, including Lenin, Stalin and Marx.