Lithuania is spending money for the formation of its image. However, questions are being raised if international companies will invest money into such a homophobic country, where nationalistic inclined youth shouts “Lithuania- for Lithuanians”; where parliamentarians and other politicians are protesting against a homosexual parade; and where people of a darker skin tone experience violence. Birute Vesaite, a Social Democrat, expressed the formation of such an opinion of Lithuanian in a press conference on Monday.
“Lithuania spends thousands of Litas to make its name more popular, programs are founded to attract investments to Lithuania, but events such as this with one stroke wipe out all of the efforts. Who will invest into a homophobic country that does not respect human rights? What advice can foreign ambassadors residing in Lithuania give to foreign companies who are considering to invest?”- the Social Democrat was asking.
She was disappointed that the three top people in Lithuania- the President, the Prime Minister, and the Chairman of Seimas- have not offered their opinion about these questions. Even worse, according to Ms. Vesaite, is that the members of Seimas and europarliamentarians are opposing the parade.
“Not one member of Seimas has made a statement about these scandalous events. It is surprising also, that not one of the three top people in the government reacted or expressed their opinion in any way,” the Social Democrat said. However, when asked if she has any concrete examples of foreign companies that have refused to invest because Lithuania is considered a homophobic, the politician said that she does not have concrete information. She said that she was using the information gathered from the evaluations of foreign ambassadors during a Seimas conference.
“All foreigners in Lithuania noticed that parade. We were shocked,”- Norwegian ambassador, Steinar Gil, said of the nationalist youth parade. He was also angered that the permit, granted by the Vilnius City municipality to gather 300 people for the homosexual parade and their supporters, pushed the group out from the center of the city into a parking lot and only allowed a small distance for marching.