Lithuania turns 100: happy birthday!

Lithuania celebrates its 100th birthday today. On February 16, 1918, the country - still under German military occupation - declared its independence for the first time. Commentators from Lithuania and beyond congratulate the country on its success story.

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Verslo žinios (LT) /

Thanks to the women and men of 1918

A hundred years ago today the foundation stone for modern Lithuania was laid, business paper Verslo žinios comments:

“In 1918 there was no public treasury, no borders, and Lithuanian practically didn't exist as a written language. In 1990 there was practically nothing in the public treasury but the world never recognised the occupation under which we lived [from 1940 to 1990]. However, we had our culture, our publications and great scientific and economic potential. And for that we must thank the women and men of 1918. ... Just look around: as the country marks its 100th anniversary every day, every hour we can discover how beautiful, lively, dynamic, and impressive Lithuania is. Now we must focus on not losing that emotion and feeling it again and again.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

A success story

The country has made huge progress since 1989, Helsingin Sanomat writes:

“Lithuania was a key player during the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Finns were impressed by the human chain of two million participants stretching from Tallinn to Vilnius in 1989. ... Hardly anyone would have believed back then that Lithuania would hold the EU Council presidency in the second half of 2013. After regaining their independence the Lithuanians set about developing their country with great resolve. Now pressing questions concern not just security but also emigration, which is a big political problem. But thanks to its efforts Lithuania has managed to shape its future, both on its own and in cooperation with others.”

Latvijas Avīze (LV) /

Baltic unity is a myth

Lithuania and Estonia celebrate the 100th anniversary of their founding within a week of each other. But even though they have much in common the unity of the Baltic countries is a myth, Latvijas avīze comments:

“The Baltic countries are peers that have experienced similar fates in the 20th century. For that reason alone it's no wonder that many people in Europe are unable to distinguish between Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. ... At first glance they're like three sisters on the Baltic Sea. But in reality cooperation between them resembles Krylov's fable about the swan, the pike and the crab who resolved to haul a load together but each pulls in a different direction. And as with sisters, relations between the Baltic countries are not just characterised by friendship and solidarity but also by envy and rivalry.”