The Baltic States are facing the impact of the financial and economic crisis, which as elsewhere has turned into an employment crisis. Different EU countries have been affected by the crisis in different ways, but its impact has been particularly serious in the Baltic States. In 2008, after successive years of strong economic growth, their economy took a sharp downturn, doubling the unemployment rate. As regards employment sectors, the construction industry was hardest hit, followed by real estate.
Measures to cut the deficit – the economic austerity programme – are radical. There are fears that the rise of taxes would deteriorate the situation by reducing consumption, increasing pressure on business and the level of unemployment. Social benefits (pensions, unemployment benefits, child allowances) are cut as part of government plans to balance the budget. Wages are also declining. As a result emigration from the Baltic states has risen sharply.
The objectives of this conference are: