The Baltic News
December 31, 2008
As famed pyrotechnician Gert Hof lights up the Vilnius New Year’s night, many Balts are thinking ahead to what 2009 will bring.
For Lithuania and especially Vilnius, 2009 promises a slew of happy positive events and business outlooks. <br>
The most talked about is of course the Vilnius European Culture capital, the first former Soviet city to be named. With a budget of 85 million euro, Vilnius and Lithuanian residents will witness 900 events over the course of the coming year. <br>
Despite the worry that they may have had to cancel the culture capital due to lack of funding, Vilnius city officials are boldly marching on.
Lithuania is also celebrating 1000 years since the name of the country was first mentioned in monastic texts and getting ready for its song and dance festival to be held this summer. Officials expect over 30,000 performers and 400 choirs to participate.
As Lithuania celebrates its culture capital, Latvia is gearing up for 2009 Eurovision song contest. Already the 20 top national candidates have been announced, including pop stars Aisha, Olga and DJ Ella. Of the twenty candidate songs, two are in Latvian. <br>
Even Estonia, in the midst of what looks to be a depressing start to the year had something positive to add. PM Ansip in his year end speech said that compared to its European neighbors, Estonia is doing quite well and had the highest employment in 2008 since 1991.