• July 9, 2014
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The Government will start the regional developmnent from the Vilnius Region?

”The economic regional growth constitutes the underlying condition for any further improvements in Lithuania”- such was the message of the PM Algirdas Butkevicius who, yesterday on July 8th , visited the Soleczniki city in order to attend the conference ” The economic strategy of particular regions: business potential development, welfare creation”. This time the question of  national minorities has not prevailed in the economic subject of the discussion. Last year in February, the regional development  also constituted the topic of the 1st official Butkevicius the PM’s visit to Soleczniki inhabited mainly by the Lithuanian citizens of Poland, however, at that time media focused mainly on the PM’s promises concerned with the resolution of the national minorities- related problems. This time,these issues have been marginalised, but  the regional multiculturalism has also been discussed-now in the economic context.

In  his report, mayor of the Soleczniki region Zdzisław Palewicz, has emphasised the importance of the multiculturalism as the core advantage in riveting foreign investments. Mayor of the Vilnius region, Maria Rekść, has definately confirmed this statement.
-The research results reveal that social multilingualism and multiculturalism is a great advantage of the region. It is meaningful for attracting the investments of the Russian speaking countries and Poland- said the mayor of the Vilnius Region. She also noticed that the viccinity of the neighbouring countries may well be used for creating logistic centres and export enterprises. In paricular, as Rekść indicated, in the Vilnius Region, the only Lithuanian region characterised with the increasing number of citizens, also in the productive age and, with noticeably competitive hourly rates.

The mayor of the Soleczniki region displayed, on the contrary, vision of his region as attractive for tourism and recreation.
-We do have a vision of the Soleczniki region attractive for tourism and recreation, with developed infrastructure, suitable both for the needs of natives and of  tourists, with favourable conditions gfor organising various events and meetings, with the surroundings conducive for business- said mayor Palewicz. He also expressed his firm belief that this vision is not only an empty dream.
Mayor Palewicz indicated that the governmental support is insufficient, particularly with respect to culture and tourism the region.

-The local government appealed to the government to support to support our efforts to create an industrial park and free economic zone in the region. However, the Department of Economy rejected our proposal- explained the mayor of the Soleczniki region. What he also emphasised was that all the governmental programmes realised until today have not been directed towards the economic, but educational development. Pradoxically, though, as a consequence, the region is short both of the work places and of the properly qualified work force.

In the Soleczniki region, there is a vocational school in Dziewieniszki- famous across Lithuania not for educating highly qualified specialists but for cooperation with the Lithuanian nationalistic groups organising summer camps for the youth at the premises of the school. Algirdas Butkevicius the PM made the regional mayors notice that their main advantage is the proximity of Vilnius.

-As for the geographical location of the regions of Vilnius and Soleczniki, it seems priceless due to the proximity to the capital city- noticed the PM. The actual proximity was to be personally experienced by the PM who, leaving the conference at quarter to one, had to be in the Vilnius Parliament at 1 p.m. And he seems to have managed to be there on time, yet with the escort and beacons on the car, he rushed to the capital at speed remarkably exceeding the one which ”ordinary” tourists and the Soleczniki inhabitants were allowed.

During the conference in Soleczniki, the PM presented the governmental programmes directed towards the economic development of regions,which, according to Butkevicius is one of the most relevant objectives of his government. Furthermore, he informed that between 2014 and 2020 the government plans to devote over 3 billion Lt.to the regional development.

According to the PM’s opinion, one of the major problems, not only of the Soleczniki region but also of other provinces, is the lack of qualified employees and unemployment.

The unemployment in the Soleczniki region amounts to 10%, whereas the national average is 8.6%.

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Translated by Katarzyna Piskorz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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