Lithua­nian MEP: Baltics will likely gain noth­ing from Brexit

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«Brexit will not cre­ate any pre­req­ui­sites for Baltic mi­grants to re­turn to their home coun­tries,» says Lithua­nian mem­ber of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment Pe­tras Auštre­vičius.

Ac­cord­ing to him, a small num­ber of res­i­dents may re­turn, but many im­mi­grants look more to­wards other coun­tries to move rather than re­turn home. He says many look to­wards Ireland, which is an English-speak­ing neigh­bour­ing coun­try with lib­eral eco­nomic pol­icy and ac­cept­able life­style.

«They could also look at other con­ti­nen­tal Euro­pean coun­tries. To fa­cil­i­tate the re­turn of em­i­grated coun­try­men af­ter Brexit, we would have to do some­thing spe­cial. But it won’t hap­pen on its own,» said the MEP. Auštre­vičius also says Baltic States will likely gain noth­ing from Brexit. Europe, he says, like the UK, will lose much from this process. «Some time will pass be­fore the Bri­tish re­al­ize what risks they have taken on,» adds the MEP.

He be­lieves Bri­tish res­i­dents are ex­ces­sively op­ti­mistic and EU res­i­dents are ex­ces­sively pes­simistic when it comes to as­sess­ment for the out­come of Brexit, es­pe­cially for Baltic States. Nev­er­the­less, it is clear to him that both sides will be losers.

«I re­gret that Bri­tish vot­ers made this de­ci­sion. I don’t be­lieve the claim that we will be stronger with­out Bri­tain. I am con­fi­dent, how­ever, that Bri­tain will only lose from no longer be­ing part of the UK. This is not the way to act in the 21st cen­tury,» says Auštre­vičius. At the same time, he be­lieves Baltic States should at­tract more labour force from neigh­bour­ing coun­tries and use a more ac­tive pol­icy to al­low peo­ple from spe­cific sec­tors of neigh­bour­ing coun­tries to par­tic­i­pate in the Baltic labour mar­ket. «Right now we only speak of lack of labour force in our coun­try. In Lithua­nia, for ex­am­ple, there is al­ready a lack of qual­i­fied labour­ers. Un­for­tu­nately, we are do­ing very lit­tle at the mo­ment to change our ap­proach from talk­ing to act­ing. This is why we have to be more ac­tive in coun­tries like Ukraine, Be­larus and sev­eral other neigh­bour­ing coun­tries to in­vite labour­ers from those coun­tries to work for us,» Auštre­vičius em­pha­sized.

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