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Seimas wastes our time and money telling itself what to do 31 May 2012

Text: Ray Vysniauskas

The Seimas (Parliament) of Lithuanian on 16 May approved a progress strategy - Lietuva 2030 (Lithuania 2030) – which was drafted by the government.

Seimas protest

The strategy was brought together by the State Progress Council made up of “experts”, otherwise known as friends of politicians given cushy consultancies in various areas such as science, business, economics and politics. The council was headed by the PM.

The strategy specifies 10 goals Lithuania hopes to achieve by 2020 or 2030: Lithuania to be in the top 10 EU member states based on rankings of Happiness, Competitiveness, Democracy, and Corruption Perception, and at least one Lithuanian university has to be amongst the top 300 best universities in the world by 2030.

But my favourite is that the document stipulates that 60% of Lithuanian residents should also be proud of their identity by 2030.

Now I’m no politician, but I would suggest that the best way to get the approval of just barely more than half of the country is to work for your nation instead of wasting its limited resources.

It is generally agreed in the wider democratic community that the task of politicians is to work for the good of the people, to raise standards of living and create greater equality at home and abroad – which the clever State Progress Council luckily clarified for us – after hours of consultation with each other no doubt.

The strategy explained its raison d'être as setting guidelines for Lithuania’s further development. The strategy states that Lithuania should become a modern, thrusting state open to the world and cherishing its national identity.

While we all love a thrusting, cherishing state, it is the existence of this particular piece of legislation rather than any of its contents that is most alarming.

Shouldn’t this be the aim of politicians without having to tell them anything?

The clever document further tells us that natural resources, a rich history, cultural heritage, professionalism, education opportunities, high work culture, a stable legal system, good IT and digital infrastructure are Lithuania's strong sides.

On the debit side we are held back by an identify crisis, extensive stereotyping, emigration, a closed society, the lack of tolerance, trust and care of each other and the surrounding environment, as well as a lack of belief in the country's future.

And of course there is no mention of any penalty should these aims not be reached in the specified time. Perhaps people would take this sort of time-wasting seriously if the politicians included a clause stating that they agree that their parliamentary pension be slashed to LTL750 per month - the current pension rate – should they fail. Then we’ll see who’s serious.

Question: How many politicians does it take to state the bleeding obvious?

Answer, not even half of them.

Of Lithuania’s 141 elected politicians, 57 MPs voted for this fabrication, three against, and there were 28 abstentions – where were the other 53?

Who knows, and sadly no-one even mentioned they were missing, and I suspect this is because nobody actually missed them.

To better aid the country to become a better place by 2030 the Seimas might consider drafting the ‘I Must Remember to Go To Work and Actually Do Something’ memo instead.

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