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Monday 19.03.2018 | Name days: Jāzeps

Lithuanian political and economic news diary. Amid menace from East, Lithuania streamlines military recruitment

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUFacing the menace from Russia, Lithuania’s Armed Forces will be this year enrolling young men and women who meet basic requirements, with no previous military training, Lithuanian National Defence Ministry said.

«We are making the procedures of enrolment in professional military service faster and shorter to improve the manning of military units. As compared to last year, we will additionally enrol 450 professional troops to the Lithuanian army this year», Defence Minister Juozas Olekas announced.

After beginning service in military units, recruits without initial military training will be directed to basic military training, which will ensure them a certain salary and all social benefits professional troops receive.

Such candidates will sign their first contract of professional military service for two years, while those with initial military training and willing to become professionals will have to conclude the contract for four years, as is the case now.

In the past, people willing to join professional military service had to complete basic military training and then apply for service in the Lithuanian army and pass a medical check-up.


Lithuanian police probes into 30 euro forgery cases

The Lithuanian police opened over the first week of January about 30 pre-trial investigations in relation to counterfeit euros.

During January 1-7, 46 euro banknotes, worth 1,760 euros in total, were put out from circulation, Ramūnas Matonis, spokesman for the Police Department, told BNS, a Lithuanian news agency, adding that the cases mainly were about the bills of 20 euro and 50 euro denominations.

In three cases, fakes had the denomination of 100 euros.

Kaunas authorities have opened 10 pre-trial investigations into forged euros over the past 24 hours. The police do not think the cases are related.

«That this has been committed by one person or one group we do have nothing to prove this so far,» Donatas Karalukas, the head of the second division of Kaunas Economic Crimes Board, told last Thursday, January 8.

The authorities link the high reporting of forged euros with the good performance of preventive work in the county, therefore, the forged bills are revealed in the initial phase, not in recalculation divisions.

According to police, 50- and 100-euro bills are the most popular among forgers.

Lithuanian mufti denounces Paris attacks

Romas Jakubauskas, a Lithuanian Musilm mufti, has condemned attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo office in Paris last Wednesday, January 7, and insisted it was perpetuated by individual criminals who must be held accountable for the heinous crime.

But mufti noted that France has struggled to integrate its 6.5-million-strong Muslim population into the society.

«It is clear and has been repeated many times that the perpetrators are criminals who must be punished. In no way do they represent the Muslim community – the Muslim community has nothing to do with it. These attacks are a folly and have nothing to do with religion.

If they [the perpetrators] hold some views or support movements like Islamic State or others, it is still their personal crimes,» Jakubauskas told. The mufti added that a large proportion of France’s Muslim population is poorly integrated and socially marginalized, therefore vulnerable to radical ideas and overly irritable by things like cartoons mocking Islam that were published in Charlie Hebdo.

He stressed necessity to work with the French community and put more efforts in integrating it into the population. Social inequality issues, especially unemployment, have also to be addressed, he emphasized.

Lithuanian MEP to submit draft resolution on Ukrainian crisis

Lithuanian MEP Valentinas Mazuronis has drafted a resolution of the European Parliament on the situation in Ukraine and its complicated humanitarian situation in the part of Ukraine currently controlled by separatists.

In the draft resolution, MEP Mazuronis points out that terrorist assaults in Ukraine were the cause of over 4,000 deaths, while more than a million of residents were forced to leave their homes.

Mazuronis has drafted the resolution in the name of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy political group in the EP. He will also represent the group during negotiations with other groups on the common EP position on Ukraine, held in Strasbourg on January 12-16.

The resolution by MEP Mazuronis calls for all sides of the conflict to comply with the Minsk memorandum, seek for a peaceful resolution of the crisis with diplomatic means, urges Russia to cease any of its support to separatists and remove Russian troops from Ukraine’s territory, to allow the OSCE observers to monitor the situation at the Ukrainian-Russian border without hindrance.

He also says that the European Commission together with all member-states should urge Ukraine’s civic society and the young generation to take part in various EU programmes which promote and strengthen democratic processes.

Almost 50,000 visit Euro Exhibition in Vilnius

In over slightly more than two months, reportedly 46,000 visitors from all over Lithuania stopped by the Euro Exhibition at the National Museum Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. It was arranged with a view to introducing in advance the population to the new currency, reports.

«The abundance of visitors, interest in the euro exceeded expectations. In terms of the number of visitors we have outperformed a great many of the other countries in which this exhibition had been staged. This was due to the willingness of the population to know the future money, the multifaceted programme of events, the courteous team of guides, the particularly convenient and attractive venue for visitors,» Giedrius Simonavičius, director of the Communications Department at the Bank of Lithuania, said.

Guided tours with cash experts and Euro Exhibition guides were arranged more than 300 times.

Lithuanian PM supports regulating relations between farmers and dairy producers

Lithuanian PM Algirdas Butkevičius has said he supports the plans of Agriculture Minister Virginija Baltraitienė to pass a temporary law that would regulate relations between dairy producers and processors.

«I support this idea, the minister of agriculture and I have discussed it many times. I believe certain order must be imposed regulating milk purchase prices and preventing abuse when milk from small and major producers is purchased,» the Prime Minister said.

The head of government disagreed that Lithuania would violate requirements of the European Commission if it undertook indirect regulation by legal acts.

«It is prevention of abuse. I will give you an example, milk is bought from minor dairy producers at very low prices, while from major producers at completely different prices. If transportation costs grow, it should be clearly said that price will be slightly lower as expenses increase when milk is collected from producers. It is a matter of negotiations and talks,» the Prime Minister told ELTA.

According to Butkevičius, if the planned law is successful, it might remain into force. Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture Baltraitienė said that the new law would be in force until the end of 2016.

Lithuanian community in Ireland needs to be included in bilateral projects

Lithuanian Parliament Speaker Loreta Graužinienė met with the newly appointed Irish Ambassador to Lithuania David Robert Noonan who said he was pleased with the strong Lithuanian community in Ireland.

According to the diplomat, the Irish have a favourable opinion about the Lithuanian community. It has integrated into the society well and thus should be included in the development of bilateral projects, economic and trade relations.

Welcoming the new ambassador of Ireland, the head of the Seimas said she hoped that the constructive and mutually beneficial dialogue would continue, as Lithuania and Ireland are tied by close economic relations.

Graužinienė talked about Lithuania’s most important accomplishments in 2014. She noted the completion of the Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal, which guarantees energy independence from Russia, and the successful preparation for the euro adoption.

«I believe that the single currency will encourage Irish and Lithuanian businessmen to cooperate even more actively and will open new opportunities to enhance our partnership», said the Seimas Speaker.

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