We escaped from the Soviet Union as beggars, and now we have overtaken Portugal, Greece, Spain, and parts of Central Europe and are on the same level as Japan, said Andrius Kubilius, MEP of the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats, writes Eglė Samoškaitė in TV3.lt
On September 9, the Conservatives gathered for their congress to celebrate the party’s thirtieth anniversary, as the Homeland Union was founded in 1993. Virtually all politicians were in a mood of joy at Lithuania’s achievements and anxiety about Ukraine’s future, as Russia attacks Ukraine and the West is scrambling to support Ukraine with arms, making it difficult to regain the territories it has lost, and there are voices about peace talks.
“Let’s remember that we escaped from the Soviet Union, which we were also instrumental in bringing down thirty years ago (we know how to bring down empires, not just collective farms), by being beggars indeed. Even in 1999, our economy was only a third of the European Union average. Now, we are catching up and surpassing that average. I keep saying that the most important thing is not that we have overtaken Portugal, Greece, Spain and most of central Europe, it seems, and are on the same level as Japan, but that we have slightly overtaken Estonia. Oh, and I cannot fail to mention that we have overtaken the United States in basketball. It doesn’t matter what happened after that, and it’s a small thing,” Kubilius said, half-jokingly and half-amused.
The politician admitted that Lithuania lags behind Scandinavian countries and Germany by about 20-30%, but, in his opinion, this is already within reach.
Kubilius headed the Government in 1999-2000 and 2008-2012.The latter term was complicated, as Lithuania and the world were hit by a severe economic and financial crisis, during which government spending had to be cut back sharply, which has left huge scars on the societies, not only Lithuania.
In the European Parliament, Mr. Kubilius has concentrated on rallying support for Ukraine, while in domestic politics, he has been characterised by an overly optimistic mood aimed at inspiring the conservative community. It is no coincidence that this politician is constantly talking about Lithuania’s achievements and the contribution of the Conservatives to accomplishing Lithuania’s most important goals. Other members of the Homeland Union of Lithuanian Christian Democrats also share such sentiments. There is a conviction among the party members that everything good that has happened in the history of Lithuania has happened either because of the enthusiasm of the party’s politicians, because of the right choice, or because of the pressure exerted by the conservatives on other governments.
“Lithuania has been a great success story over these thirty years; we have grown successfully and successfully defended ourselves against the Kremlin’s efforts to take us back,” the politician notes, adding that the most important inspiration for him in politics is the success of his homeland.
On Ukraine, Mr Kubilius stressed that he believes that Ukraine will win the war and Russia will lose it. However, this still requires convincing the West not to fear a Ukrainian victory and a Russian defeat, followed by the collapse of the Putin regime. According to Mr. Kubilius, there is a fear of a Ukrainian victory in the West and a desire to negotiate with Mr. Putin. But Lithuania’s mission, according to the politician, is to pass on its faith in Ukraine’s victory to the West. He generally believed that the next decade was Ukraine’s decade.
A. Kubilius also said that he hoped that after the October 2024 Seimas elections, Ingrida Šimonytė’s Government would be given a mandate for another term because the Cabinet of Ministers was doing a good job, and we were living in a particular time.
“If you don’t believe this, say it out loud. Which of the former governments, especially the governments of the left, would have handled all the crises of this time better? No one can name them. Such a government is an aspiration for Lithuania. I believe that even Vilija Blinkevičiūtė will admit this,” the politician laughed.
The MEP, among other things, painted a picture that in less than a year, Lithuania will have a president or a woman president who will not try to become another government or leader of the opposition.