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P R E S S . R E L E A S E . 01/02/02
Friends of the Earth Lithuania have started a campaign against McDonald's  
Dear colleagues, Lithuanian Green Movement/Friends of the Earth Lithuania started anti-McDonald's campaign.  
There will be actions organized this Saturday, 02 February 2002 at 13.00 p.m. against McDonalds in Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipeda - three main Lithuanian cities.

Main slogan: McDonald's Pollute Your Stomach and Nature

There are 6 McDonald's (MCD) places in Lithuania: four in Vilnius, one in Kaunas and Klaipeda each.

Reasons for the action. General - Lithuanian Green Movement don't like MCD for the same known reasons as the millions of people around the globe: promotion of junk food at any costs (destruction of environment, discrimination of local people and economies, torment and killing of animals, exploitation and oppression of their own staff, attacks on civil activists for the criticism, ad lies, etc).

Particular. Two weeks ago MCD executives in the Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland) declared their loses of 3,7 mln. USD during last 5 years in Lithuania. Despite their claimed 10 mln. USD of investments since their operation in Lithuania.

MCD asked Lithuanian Government to cut custom taxes to zero for the imported food sub products for hamburgers (mainly beef and rolls) in 2002 year. Most of them are imported from Poland. None of the Lithuanian companies have contracts with MCD for the food supply. MCD claim that quality of the Lithuanian food products does not meet their quality standards.

MCD succeeded to agree about abolishment of the custom taxes for the imported food sub products in the second half of 2001. Lithuanian budget lost about 150,000 USD for it last year.

So, the same story in 2002 ?

Lithuanian Government recently declared about strengthened and tightened actions against national business in order to collect more money for the budget. There are plans to increase collection only of the custom taxes more than 50 mln. USD in 2002 compare to 2001 by the tightened procedures and actions.

Government cut social, heath care and other budgets for no money and cut taxes for TNC's at the same time.

It was a good reason to react and start anti-McDonalds campaign in Lithuania. So, we started.

I wrote an open letter to the Minister of Economy on 29 January 2002 and sent it to all relevant officials and media. BNS news agency, the biggest news broker in the Baltics, distributed it today and it was published in big internet news portal, followed by 72 comments from the readers.

Lithuanian Green Movement will organize main action with Vilnius alternative youth groups. Our groups of LGM will do the same in Kaunas and Klaipeda.

It's not the protectionist action against cut of the custom tax duties, but the start of long-term general anti-McDonald's campaign. But 'No Tax Cut' is a demand as well.

They choose our children as the easy target for the junk food. So, we chose them as the good target for the stricture of the corporate power.

Linas Vainius
vice-chairman of FoE Lithuania

McDonalds was caught for smuggling in Estonia in January 2002.

The Estonian customs service of Veterinary and Food Board has imposed an EEK 10,000 fine on McDonald's Eesti that a few weeks ago attempted to import from Latvia products that were incorrectly labelled. When inspecting a shipment for McDonald's in Estonia, the Estonian veterinary customs service discovered that a four-ton shipment packaged as pineapple juice actually contained ingredients used for making milkshake.

The products had been packaged in a Riga-based dairy combinate Rigas Piena Kombinats. Both McDonald's and Riga dairy plant claim that they decided to use wrong package only because there was a surplus. EEK 10,000 is the maximum fine that the veterinary customs service is allowed to award.

-------------this info is from Baltic Business News (BBN)-------

Linas Vainus, Vice-chairman
Lithuanian Green Movement/Friends of the Earth Lithuania

P.O.Box 156, Kaunas LT-3000 Lithuania
tel: +3 70 7 425566
fax: +3 70 7 425207
GSM: +370 99 33661

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