Lithuania has already coordinated most positions with the European Union. Next year, it is going to complete negotiations on joining this organisation, and to become a full-fledged EU member in 2004. Petras Austriavicius, the chief negotiator for accession to the EU said this during a Wednesday cabinet session. Lithuania's annual EU membership fee will make up 100 million euros, which exceeds 1.27% of the GDP. However, Lithuania will be recipient of 280 million euros annually. At the same time, the number of Lithuanians who are optimistic about the EU accession process has drastically reduced over the past months. More than 55% of respondents supported Lithuania's EU membership last October, while recent polls reveal that only 47% would vote for joining the EU.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.