The income in exports from Belarus makes not 30%, but only 17% of Lithuania's budget.
Lithuania was surprised to hear the statement of the Belarusian dictator, who said at a press conference on January 15 that Belarus makes 30% of Lithuania's budget. Lithuanian politologist Laurynas Kasčiūnas thinks Belarus really has economic influence on Lithuania, but not as great as the Belarusian authorities state, Euroradio reports.
“Let's not use hyperboles. There's no great influence. Belarus is now considered to be a different geopolitical category. Belarus is a member of the Customs Union now. The tools that were suitable 2 or 3 years ago don't work now,” the politologist says.
According to Rytas Staselis, an observer for Verslo Zinios business newspaper, Lithuania received 700 million dollars for Belarusian goods transit in 2012 and spent 1 billion dollars to buy Belarusian goods. Lithuania's budget is about 10 billion dollars and the country's GDP is $43 billion. Thus, export from Belarus and revenues from goods transit make only 17% of the government budget, but the Belarusian leader spoke about 30%...
“I don't know the origin of this legend and why it is so popular now. It's perhaps an easy way for Mr Lukashenka to explain Belarus's own domestic economic problems or increase his political weight as the leader in the region. I can only guess,” he said.
Belarusian economist Leanid Zaika says the remark about 30% in the budget has “rather political and propaganda aims”. He explains:
“I can note that one third of Lithuania's budget is subsidies from the EU. Belarusian politicians claim that another third of the budget is made by Belarus. So, it turns out that the Lithuanians came to the miserable situation that they can make only a third of the government budget.”
Rytas Staselis hears opinions on Belarus's influence on the Lithuanian economy both from the Belarusian authorities and experts. However, he thinks these statements should more worry Belarus than Lithuania:
“There are some talks that Lithuania’s economy will collapse if Belarus closes the border, stops transit and export to Lithuania. It's not serious. The Lithuanian economy will not collapse. Belarus itself may face problems if they make decisions based on such arguments.”