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17 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Lithuania celebrates 100 years since independence

AFP
Lithuania celebrates 100 years since independence
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite reviews troops during a ceremony marking 100 years since Lithuania regained independence after World War I, yesterday at the presidential Palace in Vilnius. AFP photo

VILNIUS: European leaders gather in Vilnius yesterday to celebrate 100 years since Lithuania regained independence after World War I, but amid flaring tensions with powerful neighbour Russia, reports AFP.

“Lithuanians have made a long journey over the last century,” European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement on the eve of the centenary.

“Thanks to them, Lithuania is now a modern, democratic state in its rightful place at the heart of our European Union.”

The NATO and eurozone member of 2.8 million people is today firmly anchored to the West and “protected and respected like never before” according to President Dalia Grybauskaite.

Like fellow Baltic states Latvia and Estonia, Lithuania increased defence spending and welcomed troops from NATO allies after Moscow’s 2014 intervention in Ukraine but Donald Trump’s election as US president has since triggered new concerns regarding American defence commitments.

There remains some concern over a reasserted Russia, and Vilnius earlier this month accused Moscow of deploying nuclear-capable ballistic missiles to its Kaliningrad enclave on the baltic.

Grybauskaite warned that the deployment in the Russian region bordering Baltic NATO members Poland and Lithuania posed a danger for “half” of Europe’s capitals.

Despite Lithuania’s solid economic growth of 3.9 percent last year, the Baltic state is beset by daily concerns over rising prices, social inequality and emigration to the richer west.

“Independent Lithuania’s major achievement has been the creation of a genuinely stable democracy. Although changes in government have been frequent, and populist parties come and go, election results have never been challenged,” said Vilnius University analyst Kestutis Girnius.

“The major challenge has been to develop a social conscience, so that more Lithuanians see their homeland as the place where they can best live out fulfilling lives,” he told AFP.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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