Lithuania country profile27 August 2006
by eub2 -- last modified 02 July 2012
Lithuania is the southernmost of the three Baltic states – and the largest and most populous of them. Lithuania became a member state of the European Union on 1 May 2004.
Lithuania is the southernmost of the three Baltic states – and the largest and most populous of them. Lithuania was the first occupied Soviet republic to break free from the Soviet Union and restore its sovereignty via the declaration of independence on 11 March 1990.
Lithuania’s landscape is flat, except for low hills in the western uplands and eastern highlands. The highest point is Aukštasis at 294 metres. Lithuania has 722 rivers, more than 2 800 lakes and 99 km of the Baltic Sea coastline, which are mostly devoted to recreation and nature preservation. Forests cover 28% of the country.
84% of the population are ethnic Lithuanians. The two largest minorities are Poles with some 7% and Russians with about 6%. The Lithuanian language belongs to the family of Indo-European languages.
The Lithuanian capital Vilnius is a picturesque city on the banks of the rivers Neris and Vilnia, and it has one of the most impressive and biggest old towns in Eastern Europe. Vilnius University, founded in 1579, is a Renaissance-style complex with countless inner courtyards, forming a city within a city.
The Lithuanian President is elected directly for a five-year term and has the greatest powers in the field of foreign and security policies. The unicameral Lithuanian Parliament, the Seimas, has 141 members.
Lithuanian cuisine is famous for cold beet soup, Lithuanian sausage and potato meals, the most popular of which are potato pancakes and Cepelinai – potato dumplings stuffed with meat, curd cheese or mushrooms.
In 2009, Lithuania will celebrate its Millennium - the name Lithuania was mentioned for the first time in 1009 in the Annales Quedlinburgenses books.
Official name: Republic of Lithuania
Area (km2): 65 000
Population: 3.53 million (July 2011 est.); 2.94 million (Eurostat forecast for 2009)
National holiday: 16 February
Date of joining: 01 May 2004
Head of state: Dalia Grybauskaitè, since July 2009
Head of government: Andrius Kubilius, since November 2008. Leader of the conservative Pro Patria Union, he governs a centre-right coalition.
GDP (millions €): 32 292.2 (2008); 29 407.6 (Eurostat forecast for 2009)
GDP per capita in PPS: € 15 400 (2008); € 13 600 (Eurostat forecast for 2009)
Real growth rate of GDP: 5.8% (2011); 1.3% (2010)
Unemployment rate: 15.4% (2011 est.); 17.8% (2010)
National debt as % of GDP: 37.7% (2011 est.); 38% (2010 est.)
Inflation: 4% (2011); 1.3% (2010)
Public deficit/surplus as % of GDP: -5.7% (2011)
Foreign Minister: http://www.urm.lt
Map of Lithuania
Source: European Commission, CIA - The World Factbook