Buy a Greek Island for Tourists, Lithuanian Mayor Says


Controversial Lithuanian mayor Arturas Zuokas on Friday said his nation should buy an island from debt-ravaged Greece and convert it into a holiday resort for tourists from the Baltic state.

Zuokas, who is mayor of the capital Vilnius, urged Lithuanian businesses to come up with some seven million euros ($9.3 million), saying it would be enough to acquire the rights to an island.

"After the island's registration by Lithuanian government, it wouldn't just be an exclusive place for rest in the Mediterranean for our citizens, but also a great global advert for Lithuania," he said in a statement.

Zuokas's latest brainwave comes a week after he received a spoof Nobel prize at Harvard University in the United States for crushing an illegally parked car in Vilnius with an armored vehicle.

The 43-year-old mayor said the island could host a tourism bureau, spa, museums and theatre, as well as the residence of the Lithuanian ambassador to Greece.

The mayor's opponents ridiculed his new scheme.

"Vilnius is deeply in debt," conservative councilor Vidas Urbonavicius told Agence France Presse. "Zuokas simply seeks cheap attention instead of taking care of Vilnius's residents".

Zuokas came top in February's local elections at the head of a non-partisan slate that included big names such as world champion strongman Zydrunas Savickas.

That marked a major comeback for the ex-war reporter and former liberal party star in the Baltic state.

He ran Vilnius from 2000 until he lost office in the 2007 polls and the following year was disgraced after being convicted and fined for attempting to bribe another local politician.

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