MP Mindaugas Bastys, head of the Seimas Committee on the Development of Information Society, says that the black market share in Lithuania has been consistently shrinking since the economic crisis, as the share of illegal tobacco products on the market fell from 28 percent to 20 percent over the recent years.
Europol’s representative Howard Pag highlights the issue of shadow economy and gives the example of cigarettes smuggling, noting that in the UK, it has direct links to terrorism and organized crime.
“Lithuania’s geographical location results in huge tobacco smuggling pressure on the country’s external borders. Due to society’s high tolerance towards illegal products, the shadow enjoys very favourable conditions to flourish in the country. All these are reasons for a growing level of crime, also, Lithuania is losing additional funds that could be used for increasing public welfare,” Pag said.