* * EBRD leading renewable energy revolution >> New 4 Energia plant in Latvia >> New projects agreed by WGBC and EBRD >> Poland hosts EBRD meeting >> Armenia to benefit from EBRD loan >> EBRD provides loan to Kobuleti >> New sewage systems brought to parts of Slovenia >> Businesswomen receive welcome boost in Croatia >> Big boost for Lithuanian e-communications market >> Regional Energy Market should be established in Baltic Region >> Czech government announces new efficiency programme >> Renewable energy hits Croatia >> EBRD investment ensures green future >> €11 million loan to provide clean water to Bosnia and Herzegovina >> Romania set for daily fines of €38,000 >> CIMC opens production plant in Poland >> Slovenia aim to reduce building’s energy usage by 30% by 2030 >> Mapei announces HUF 1bn (€3.2m) investment in Hungary >> Mátrai Erőmű opens HUF 6.5 bln. solar power plant >> Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) receives €200 million loan from EBRD >> Mátrai Erőmű opens HUF 6.5 bln. solar power plant >> Hungarian government, Grundfos signs strategic partnership agreement >> GVH greenlights Veolia’s purchase of GDF Suez’s plant >>Bulgaria opens new gas transmission pipeline >> EU gives Romania a due date to close and/or restore 109 landfills > Bulgaria Expects to Choose Builder of Gas Link to Romania > EIB extends backing to SME and mid-top undertakings through BS in Slovenia >WOOD-TEC 2015: 14th International Fair for Wood and Furniture Industry in Brno > Laesti raises more capital for Sauga sawmill in Pärnu, Estonia > Poland’s BZ WBK Lease gets loan of €50 million for sustainable energy projects >Bosch invests HUF 9.3 billion in plant expansion > EBRD increases backing for sustainable energy in the Slovak Republic > EBRD targets increased energy savings in Ukraine >> EBRD and EU aim to and develop the water and wastewater services in Romania’s Ilfov County >> Enea to purchase an additional wind farm in CEE >> UPB Energy to build a EUR 30 biomass energy plant in Latvia >> REC celebrates 25 years, embarks on route for the foreseeable future >> Low-carbon city forum focuses on green development >> WIL has many years of expertise in the tyre recycling business >>EBRD and EU look to improve Kazakhstan’s long term source of water >> REC celebrates 25 years, embarks on route for the foreseeable future >> WIL has many years of expertise in the tyre recycling business > RWE to expand wind power portfolio in Poland > Environment : EU Commission brings POLAND and SLOVENIA to The court for e-waste failings >EUR 35 mln will be invested in a Romanian eco-residential complex >> Brodosplit Shipyard in the Adriatic port of Split >> EBRD Transition Report 2013: Emerging economies can break through reform stagnation >> Finish company Fiskars thanks MOL for 350% increase in sales >> Ikea largest store in Poland is completed in Wrocław >> EBRD extends extra €15 million to Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) for energy efficiency projects >> Growth returns to Central Europe as eurozone exits recession >> EBRD considers financing first major wind farm in Kazakhstan >> Immochan plans to build shopping centers in CEE >> Swiss electric giant LEM opened a new high-tech factory in Bulgaria >>EBRD lends Rb 1.7 billion to UniCredit Leasing Russia for energy efficiency >> Water supply and wastewater treatment in mid-sized municipalities in Serbia funded >> EBRD strengthens drive for energy efficiency >> Agreements with close Kazakhstan , Agreements with Taiwan developing >> Taiwan working closer with the EBRD on investments in Central Eastern Europe to help find Partners >> EBRD and Ministry support small business in Russian Far East >> Germany building a lead in Ukraine >> Enel Green Power builds a new interconnected PV plant in Romania >> Joint IFI Action Plan for Growth prepares emerging Europe for “competitive and prosperous future” >> China and Poland now connected by new Cargo Train links >> Poland the best economic performer in Europe during the last 20 years >> Poland:luxury goods sales increasing in Poland >> IFIs on track to deliver on investments for growth in Central and South Eastern Europe >> EBRD hails success of St. Petersburg clean river project >> EBRD channels €15.5 million to support major biomass project in Ukraine >> E-Commerce giant investing in Poland >> EBRD co-finances expansion of PEPSA wind farms in Poland >> Is Emerging Europe becoming a “new safe haven”? >> Eastern Partnership transport ministers meet at EIB >> EIB continues to support the upgrading of Sofia’s municipal infrastructure >> EIB supports more efficient power generation and emissions reductions in Russia >>EBRD backs Russian oil-field services company’s Eurobond >> EBRD supports renewable energy project in southern Ukraine >> EBRD President seeks more Asian investment in EBRD region >>New Trade and Banking deals between China and Hungary >> Taiwan Taipei China and the EBRD >> China Invests more into Bulgaria >> EBRD steps up support for energy efficiency investments in Belarus >> Clean water for Romania’s Bihor county >> EBRD issues US$ 250 million “Green Bond” >> Water and wastewater modernisation in Dolj >> EBRD supports bottled water producer in Azerbaijan >> Report: The Waste Water Industry of Poland >> Hyundai looking to invest in Waste Treatment in Serbia >> EBRD invests in Russian IT outsourcing provider MAYKOR >> Joint investment with the Russian Direct Investment Fund and CapMan Russia II Fund >> €10 million loan for Albania’s Credins Bank >> Garbage Management Is a Problem in Russia >> Eastern Europe countries must invest in the economic upturn-GfK >> EBRD supports energy efficiency lending and trade >> Serbia’s economy reindustrialization strategy includes the development of IT >> Rompetrol wins US$1.1bn contract to modernise Kazakh refinery >> EBRD helps Ecoprod generate power from biogas >> The largest oil and gas mine in Poland launched >> Ukraine government approves Energy Strategy until 2030 >> Romania aims to raise €600m from Romgaz IPO in November 2013 >> Non-residents’ direct investment in Romania estimated at EUR 666 million >> EBRD helps Ecoprod generate power from biogas Ukrainian agribusiness firm turns waste into electricity >> US-based AECOM and South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction are interested in developing major Romanian infrastructure projects >> Energy efficiency investments to boost Podravka’s competitiveness >> Alstom was awarded a €100 million contract to supply 6 Francis turbine-generator units and auxiliaries in Albania >>> €190 million in loans for wood processor Kronospan Funding for facilities in Belarus and Russia to develop forestry sector >> EBRD boosts COSMOTE in Romania’s 4G race €225 million loan for better infrastructure in telecoms sector >> Improving the sustainability of SPAR Slovenija EBRD to provide to €40 million loan to support retailer’s development >> Germany will provide EUR 35 million in support for two energy projects of FYR Macedonian Power Plants >> New EBRD loan encourages Romanian SMEs to invest in energy efficiency €10 million to UniCredit Tiriac Bank to help the private sector cut energy bills >> EBRD finances water supply improvements in Yerevan €5.4 million to rehabilitate water supply infrastructure operated by Yerevan Djur CJSC >> EBRD 10-year loan for main city on Sakhalin island First major investment in decades for district heating system EBRD is driving energy efficiency in Moldovan households >> Romania passes law backing Nabucco gas pipeline project >> Hungary, Austria, Romania and Bulgaria back Nabucco West over TAP rival >> EDF plans €300m investment in Rybnik plant modernisation (Poland) >> Romania approves cut in green certificates and renewable incentives >> EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti says corruption is deterring investment >> FYR Macedonia investment opportunities presented in Malaysia >> GE is Helping Europe to Improve Grid Efficiency, Enable Optimum Asset Management and Enhance Active Network Control >> 6 million Euro Albanian gas power plant will export 70 % of the plants production >> Serbia, Czech Republic start environmental protection cooperation >> An integrated biorefinery for processing crustacean shell waste into specialty and fine chemicals underway > Gasmet: Advanced Gas Detection Technology Supports Arctic Greenhouse Gas Research >> EBRD steps up support for Romanian SMEs >> EBRD supports Montenegro’s power grid upgrade, link to Italy >> EBRD energy efficiency funding for Russian homes >> Financing sustainable energy investments for Bulgarian business EBRD supporting energy efficiency in Slovak Republic >>> €10.3 million extra for Shymkent wastewater modernisation in Kazakhstan >>> Warsaw and Vienna exchanges discuss merging to create CEE share trading hub >>> Donor funding for environmental investments in Belarus >> EU-funded project will reduce electromagnetic field exposure by 50% >>Serbia's industrial production increases by 13% >> A snapshot of ICT in Serbia >> In the starting blocks >> Poland listed as one of Europe's windiest locations >>> AIR POLLUTION Warsaw Entry forbidden >>> Donor funding for environmental investments in Belarus >>> Chinese engage companies from Bosnia Herzegovina for Stanari power plant >>> EIB may lend $1.2 bln for Romanian projects in 2013 >>> EBRD contributes to safety of Ukraine’s nuclear power stations >>> EMS takes on eastern European auto supply busines >>> Taiwan, EBRD ink green investments pact >>> EIB supports modernisation of air traffic management infrastructure in Ukraine >>> EIB and EBRD to support completion of TES-Thermal Power Plant Sostanj project >>> EIB and BCR continue to support SMEs, midcaps and municipalities in Romania >>> EBRD President Chakrabarti visits Taipei >>> EBRD and partners explore next-generation biofuels >>> EBRD strengthens capital base of Siauliu bank >>> Bulgaria’s Biomashin attracts EBRD support 3 New Wind Farms For Romania >>> EBRD invests in Lithuanian port’s future as major hub >>> Biggest ever EIB loan in Slovenia: EUR 500 million for co-financing with EU Funds >>> EBRD adopts new Russia strategy for 2013-2015 >>> EBRD lends to Ukraine’s Coal Energy >>> EBRD boosts support for Belarus banking partner >>> EBRD channels safer drinking water to more of Tajikistan >>> Head of the EU Delegation: Serbia and EU to commence accession talks soon >>> New Joint IFI Action Plan for Growth in Central and South Eastern Europe >>> Poland to get new 53 MW wind farm in Kukinia: EBRD finances a new wind farm and supports the existing one in Tychowo EIB reinforces its support for upgrading Poland’s energy distribution network >>> EIB supports SMEs in Romania with EUR 45 million >>> Hungary: EIB continues to support smaller private companies with EUR 100 million >>> Leasings up in CEE >>> Romania has 750MW of wind farms in testing stage >>> Serbia's Energy Minister announced new incentive tariffs for the production of electricity from renewable energy sources Major new gas plant in Lithuania to replace lost nuclear power >>> EBRD funds Continental’s Russian tyre plant >>> The EU agreement on climate Polish law AAU emission units defended >>> STRABAG to build Europe’s most modern waste treatment plant in Ljubljana >>> EU greenhouse gases in 2011: more countries on track to meet Kyoto targets, emissions fall 2.5 % >>> Protected areas have increased to cover one fifth of Europe’s land >>> EBRD: world’s major waste - flaring gas - could be turned into profit >>> Valcea, Romania, to upgrade water and wastewater services with EBRD loan >>> EBRD directors visit Poland >>> EBRD to finance its first solar power project >>> EBRD unleashes energy efficiency potential of Ukraine’s district heating sector >>> New EBRD financing facility for residential energy efficiency projects in Moldova >>> Giving old tyres a new life >>> Serbia - RWE and EPS (Serbia) sign collaboration agreements >>> Two new hydropower plants in Albania >>> Poland - RAG (Austria) signs deal with GazSystem for gas storage in Poland >>> Poland - Enea signs EPC contract for 1,075 MW supercritical plant (Poland) >>> Ukraine - Ukraine starts construction of 750 kV transmission line >>> Ukraine - Ukraine receives €200m loan for 22 hydropower projects (980 MW) >>> Bosnia - RWE will develop 210 MW of run-of-river capacity in Bosnia >>> ... Slovakia spends 33 mln eur on car-scrapping subsidy ... EBRD helps boost green energy use in Poland >>> ... EBRD reiterates Poland's 2011 GDP growth forecast at 3.8% >>> Geomorphological Secrets Yana River Basin Revealed >>> Imtech: strong further growth in Poland, broad palette of new orders >>> WÄRTSILÄ INTERIM REPORT JANUARY-JUNE 2011 >>> Outotec >>> Hungary 'should focus on CO2 cuts outside ETS' >>> We cannot afford to waste energy and raw materials – the informal meeting of the EU Competitiveness Council with Minister Andrzej Kraszewski. >>> Smart meter producers report huge increase for shipments in CEE region
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Lithuania is the largest and most southerly of the three Baltic republics.

Not much more than a decade after it regained its independence during the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, Lithuania was welcomed as a Nato member in late March 2004.

The move came just weeks before a second historic shift for the country in establishing its place in the Western family of nations as it joined the EU in May 2004. These developments would have been extremely hard to imagine in not-so-distant Soviet times.

Russia, anxious about the implications of the eastward advance of the EU and Nato to include the three Baltic republics, has a particular eye on Lithuania which has an important border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.
Old part of Vilnius After being part of the Soviet Union for decades, Lithuania has moved closer to Europe
Continue reading the main story   
At a glance

    Politics: Dalia Grybauskaite is Lithuania's first female president. Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius heads a centre-right government
    Economy: Lithuania aims to enter the eurozone by 2014. It undertook a tough austerity drive to tackle the impact of the global recession
    International: Lithuania joined Nato and the EU in 2004. Relations with Russia have been fraught since independence in 1990

Country profiles compiled by BBC Monitoring

The history of Lithuania has close ties with that of Poland, its neighbour to the southwest. By the end of the 18th century most of the country came under the Russian empire. German occupation in the first world war was followed by two decades of independence, although Vilnius was occupied by Poland for most of that time.

Following a pact between Stalin and Hitler, Soviet troops arrived in 1940. They were pushed out by the Nazis the following year but returned in 1944.

For the next half century of Soviet rule, Lithuanians relied on Catholic tradition and memories of independence to preserve their national identity, a skill mastered through centuries of foreign domination. Pagan traditions with roots stretching back centuries have been kept alive too.

Lithuania has embraced market reform since independence. In the run up to and period following EU entry the republic saw very strong economic growth. It applied to join the eurozone from January 2007 but was rejected because the inflation rate was too high.

Lithuania's boom years came to a sudden end in 2008, and after two decades of capitalism, the country became one of the biggest victims of the global economic crisis. This prompted the implementation of austerity measures, including spending cuts and tax rises.