VILNIUS, Lithuania, May 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
The public is being invited to join the fight against the black market by using a new website to report illegal trading in Lithuania. The latest weapon in the battle against the black market has been set up as part of the "Lithuania Without Shadow" initiative. Any resident in Lithuania can now anonymously report what they suspect to be trading in black market goods by completing an online form indicating where the activity took place and what goods (alcohol, tobacco, fuel) were involved. The project is the first of its kind in the battle against black marketeering and has received an official endorsement from EU commissioner Algirdas Šemeta.
Once a report is filed on http://www.beseselio.lt, the information is transferred to police participating in the initiative who will then decide whether any laws have been broken. The places where illegal trading has been observed by citizens will be highlighted on a map and visitors to the site will be able to compare rates of illegal trading across regions, check which places where there has been black market trading have been shut down by law enforcement and find other useful information. Because it is the first website of its kind, its creators hope it will help law enforcement officials tackle the black market far more effectively than has previously been possible.
Algirdas Šemeta, the European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud, supports involving the public in the fight against the black market as well as moves to make black market activity socially unacceptable. "Member States and the EU budget lose around €10bn every year due to cigarette smuggling alone. Not only does this problem hit national revenues hard, but it threatens legitimate businesses and helps to fund more sinister crime. Before the summer, I will present an EU-wide strategy to step up our fight against the illicit tobacco trade. I warmly welcome this Lithuanian Shadow map as a contribution to the battle against smuggling in excise goods," added Mr Šemeta.
The website's creators believe that it will provide a much clearer picture of the black market in Lithuania including its distribution, composition and dynamics. The website will also display how much money Lithuania's budget loses to the black market in real time. It is forecasted that this sum will be more than 115 million EUR in 2013.
According to project representative Kęstutis Kupšys, the website's main aim is to enlist the support of the public in the wider fight against the black market. "We'd like to encourage the public to understand the scale of the black market and the damage it causes. We want to raise the public's awareness and make people less tolerant of black market activity. We need to understand that our economic prosperity and living conditions depend on reducing our own tolerance of criminal activity," said one of the platform's creators.
The black market in Lithuania makes up 30 per cent all economic activity in the country, making it one of the largest in the European Union alongside Bulgaria and Romania. According to the calculations made by those involved in the initiative, every teacher in Lithuania loses about 8100 EUR to the black excise goods market every year while every pensioner loses roughly 870 EUR.
The http://www.beseselio.lt website enables any Lithuanian resident to anonymously report the site of any black market trading that he or she has observed. A map on the site displays places where illegal black market activity has taken place and gives everybody the opportunity to join the effort to destroy the black market.
About PI "Lithuania Without Shadow"
"Lithuania Without Shadow" is a public institution formed by several Lithuanian citizens and public organisers that aims to unite like-minded people who are under no illusion about the seriousness of the black market problem.
SOURCE Lithuania Without Shadow Initiative