Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius presented a report on the government’s achievements in 2015 to the Lithuanian parliament on Thursday but analysts were highly critical.
Analysts said that the report was less about reviewing the government’s performance than about campaigning before this year’s elections.
Finance analyst Valdemaras Katkus said that falling unemployment was mostly a result of emigration, which is a growing concern for Lithuania.
“22,000 more people left [in 2015] than the year before. Over the last three years, when this government has been in power, we lost 91,000 people to emigration, the size of the city of Panevėžys,” Katkus says.
He also noted that the average wage in the country lags behind those in the other Baltic states and Poland and Lithuania’s economic growth last year was the lowest in five years.
Katkus said that Butkevičius boasted about individual projects without looking at the hard statistics that show a more sombre view of how the country is doing.
Butkevičius said the government last year successfully implemented several crucial energy projects, raised the minimum wage and unemployment in the country has been consistently shrinking.
Katkus notes, however, that the energy projects, like the electricity interconnections with Poland and Sweden, were started by the previous government and all Butkevičius’ cabinet had to do was not to mess them up.
Political observer Jurga Tvaskienė notes that while Butkevičius singled out the introduction of the euro as a key achievement of his government, he failed to prevent price hikes after the switch-over.
“The prime minister should first talk about the fact that, while the introduction of the euro is really beneficial for the state, the government failed to come to an agreement with businesses in order to make sure that the prices didn’t go up as much as they did. This really angered people,” Tvaskienė said.
Raising retirement pensions by €8 is not as big an achievement as Butkevičius made out it to be either, she added.