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Delfi - Lithuania | Friday, July 24, 2009

Kestutis Girmius on German solidarity

Lithuanian politicians have recently repeatedly criticised what they see as a lack of solidarity by the major states of the EU, above all Germany, with the smaller and poorer EU states. Kestutis Girnius defends Germany's behaviour on the news portal Delfi: "Germany is generous. For many years it was Europe's paymaster and provided the most funding for Europe to develop. Germany has renounced its military tradition and adopted a policy of rapprochement. Its foreign policy, with humanitarian aid for poorer countries, and its engagement for human rights is based on values. Lithuania always wants to be that way as well, but with us this usually amounts only to words, not deeds. ... When it comes to values, it is incidentally more important to help poor African countries than, say, Ukraine or Georgia where no-one goes hungry. Lithuania cannot teach anyone else lessons about solidarity. It receives more help from others than it gives - and it doesn't even show solidarity towards its own citizens. There's hardly anywhere else in the EU where social differences are more marked than they are here and our taxation system aggravates the situation. Germany, by contrast, showed solidarity when in the last decade it raised taxes slightly to help the eastern part of the country achieve greater prosperity."

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