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Lithuanian Prime Minister critical of EU austerity policy

Algirdas Butkevičius
Juliaus Kalinsko / 15min nuotr. / Algirdas Butkevičius
Šaltinis: BNS
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Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius criticized the European Union's austerity policy and said that it would be beneficial to consider Britain's remarks on promoting competitiveness.

"I agree with certain proposals, especially talking about promoting competitiveness, growth, and the creation of new jobs. I really agree with those thoughts 100 percent and believe that the EU or just its leaders should really pay more attention to this area," Butkevičius told reporters in comment on the pledge made by British Prime Minister David Cameron to hold a referendum on his country's EU membership after the UK renegotiates its conditions.

The head of the Lithuanian government also said the EU was too much focused on the austerity policy, and added that more attention should be paid to production.

"Without promoting production, without promoting growth and development, I believe we won't be able to talk about youth employment. The ideas that were expressed are really important, significant and should attract attention and, I think, the question of leaving the EU or holding a referendum would unlikely to arise," Butkevičius said.

In his highly-anticipated speech, Cameron promised an in/out referendum if the Conservatives won the election. The prime minister saw "a crisis of European competitiveness" and "a gap between the EU and its citizens which has grown dramatically in recent years."

"If we don't address these challenges, the danger is that Europe will fail and the British people will drift towards the exit," Cameron said.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said after Cameron's speech that being "in a more integrated Europe" is beneficial for Lithuania.

"Global challenges require solidarity and unity and actions by all European countries. A united and strong Europe is in everybody's interest. Lithuania will be stronger economically and politically in a more integrated Europe," Grybauskaitė said in a statement.

BNS
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