During my first term of office I pledged my commitment to the people of Lithuania to work for three major goals: free man, open society and strong state. Then I mainly focused my efforts on the strategic goal of integrating the state of Lithuania with the modern Western world. Today Lithuania is already a member of NATO and the European Union. Thus, I have set new goals: bringing European welfare to each and every home in Lithuania and building a Lithuania where nobody is forgotten.
A prosperous, competitive and open national economy is the basis for European welfare. The success of the Lithuanian economy will depend on the work of well-educated and competitive people of Lithuania, efficient and targeted use of national budget and European Union funds, reduction of the tax burden as well as responsible and efficient functioning of government institutions. This will ensure regular growth of wages and pensions and self-confidence of the people who will then be able to plan their future and that of their children.
In building welfare, it is crucial to give more attention to all citizens of Lithuania: promote their creativity, entrepreneurial skills and the willingness to work and earn. The European Union has opened up broad opportunities for legal employment. However, we have to make every effort to ensure the growth in the number of well-paid jobs in Lithuania as well, so that our country would be attractive for our fellow-countrymen who are currently earning their bread abroad. European welfare means more attention for those who face the problem of unemployment, are disadvantaged by an illness or suffering from deprivation. The system of social protection, pension funds, and charitable activity must ensure that any citizen of Lithuania, when in the time of his or her hardship, would not lose hope and would not lack support and assistance.
The situation of the people living in rural areas cannot be forgotten. Ensuring growing welfare of the people in the countryside can and should be linked to Lithuania's membership of the European Union. We need to develop in the rural areas effective commodity farming that would take into account the modern challenges to environmental protection; we should promote non-traditional businesses and provide new culture and social services. This will strengthen the rural communities and contribute to the growth of well being in rural areas.
The well being of Lithuania's people is concurrent with adherence to European standards in legislation, public administration and in matters social and economic. I will sharply demand individual responsibility of each and every civil servant for negligence and abuse. We must ensure that tax payers' money and the European Union funds are used for job creation and not for building summer houses and the roads that lead to them.
European order also means safety for all - at home, in the school and on the street. Fighting crime in Lithuania can only be effective when we ensure proper funding of the law enforcement institutions, starting from ordinary police officers. Corruption can be dealt with only through increasing transparency in the activities of the institutions and by limiting possibilities for civil servants to take arbitrary decisions and giving more rights to the citizens.
As regards the future of Lithuania, my hopes are pinned on the young people. We have to provide them with the possibility to acquire proper education. We need to reform the curricula so that the young were able to use their knowledge and skills in the modern dynamic world. It is vital to create the conditions for our young to implement their ideas in our country and give them the feeling that they can add to building welfare in Lithuania. When delivering on our commitment to meet European education standards, we should also aim at raising self-determined personalities who are well familiar with their own nation and culture.
Fostering national identity and culture plays a strategic role in shaping the development of the nation and the state. I will pool the efforts of the government and the public to ensure that Lithuania actively works for the development of its culture and promotes its creative powers. This is the only way for us to preserve and further shape our national identity in the open world of today. We will attract our neighbours through our efforts to enrich Europe and the world with our unique historical experience, spiritual culture, arts and language.
Having pooled our efforts and concentrated on creative work internally, we will also be able to efficiently solve the issues of international politics. Foreign policy is not a goal in itself but rather a means of building security and well being for the people. Membership of the European Union and NATO guarantees greater well being and security and broader opportunities for the people of Lithuania. I am committed to ensure that Lithuania further maintains good relations with our neighbours and other states.
It is my firm belief that the President of Lithuania should be equally just to each and every citizen of our country. Reconciling all the people of Lithuania and putting an end to division into city and rural people and the elite is my task of prime priority. I cherish Lithuanian citizens of all nationalities and I relate to the problems of both the young and the retired. The individuality of each and every one of us and variety of opinion is greatly important. Still, we bear the responsibility for our future and it is imperative that we agree on and adhere to at least the main principles: never doubting the Constitution of Lithuania, never interpreting the laws loosely and never ignoring the universal moral norms. I will make every effort to achieve that we cherish and strengthen this foundation of our society's life. Today Lithuania has the opportunity to build its future in Europe and I am confident that we will use it.