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Tuesday 21.11.2017 | Name days: Andis, Zeltīte

Lithuania’s political and economic diary. Lithuanian economy to grow fastest in Baltics during 2014-2015

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Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs (R) and his Lithuanian counterpart Linas Linkevičius (L) shake hands

Despite the heavy impact of Russian sanctions on the economy, Lithuania will see the fastest growth in the Baltics in 2014 and 2015, according to the latest EU economic growth report of the European Commission.

Lithuania’s economy is expected to grow by 2.7% this year, and by 3.1% next year. In comparison, Latvia’s GDP is expected to inch up 2.6% this year, and 2.9% next year, while Estonia will see 1.9% growth this year and 2% next year. 

Baltic and Finnish farmers insist on EU aid to buffer Russian embargo ill-effects

 As agricultural sector has been among the hardest-hit by Russian embargo, Baltic States and Finnish agricultural organizations submitted a repeated appeal for help to the European Commission, sending a joint letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to remind the Commission of the complicated situation of the Baltic states and Finnish agricultural producers.

The letter emphasizes that no solution has been found to the situation, despite several formal pledges of imminent support.

Leaders of the organizations that signed the letter do not question the European Union’s common political decisions with regard to Russia, but the Commission is called for solidarity and collective action to buffer the negative and disproportionate effects of the import restrictions on the Baltic countries and Finnish farmers and rural communities.

Lithuania courts Belarus amidst standoff between Russia and West

As the standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine doesn’t relent, there is a similar yet more subtle process going on in the neighbouring state of Belarus. Lithuania has been keen to bring Belarus economically and politically closer to the European Union, a position that Vilnius pushed during a Lithuania-Belarus economic forum held November 4-5.

Minsk has been reluctant to respond, which is hampered by Belarus’ strategic alliance with Russia and its resistance to get the best of the Western-style governance.

At the Lithuania-Belarus economic forum held in Mogilev, Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius said the Klaipėda LNG facility could supply the Baltic States as well as other countries in the region –thought to be a hint of Belarus. Once it is fully operational next year, the LNG terminal will have an annual import capacity of 4 billion cubic meters (bcm), greater than Lithuania’s total annual consumption of 3.27 bcm, thus enabling the export.

However, the Baltic states of Estonia and Latvia are more likely to benefit from Lithuania’s LNG terminal than is Belarus. Together, Estonia and Latvia consume only around 1.5 bcm of natural gas per year and have existing or planned pipeline connections to Lithuania. Belarus, meanwhile, consumes between 15 bcm and 20 bcm of natural gas annually, meaning any spare capacity from Lithuania’s LNG import facility would be negligible for the country.

Former Lithuanian Energy Minister Arvydas Sekmokas said on November 4 that only small amounts of natural gas could be shipped to Belarus with existing infrastructure.

Lithuanian Foreign minister hails Latvian counterpart on his coming-out

As Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics came out as gay on Thursday, November 6, stirring «ohs» and «wows» across the region, Lithuanian Foreign minister Linas Linkevičius congratulated his colleague, while a human rights activist says the step could encourage change in Lithuania as well.

«Edgars, my friend, admire your courage and sincerity!» Linkevičius tweeted on Friday and soon received a response: «Linas, thank you for support!»

«Famous people coming out are of huge significance for people who feel unaccepted in their own environment, by their families, their friends, they fear in school, are subjected to bullying. It’s a certain push for people, it helps them realize that they are not alone and that they should not be afraid of their sexual orientation. It is a major breakthrough which reflects Latvia’s progress in the area of human rights,” said Birutė Sabatauskaite, head of the Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights.

In her words, such a move could also encourage political decisions aimed at protecting the rights of LGBT people.

«The more people come out, the bigger incentive it would be for lawmakers, the state policy to regulate such relations. It would be a certain push for political decisions,» Sabatauskaitė said.

Lithuanian Post to employ 75 extra employees for currency changeover

Starting in January, 330 post offices across the country will exchange cash litas to euros free of charge for a period of 60 days. To handle the extra workload, Lithuania Post will hire 75 employees throughout the country, the company said..

Starting on January 2, 2015, almost 50% of all post offices will provide the currency exchange services. In some post offices, the currency will be exchanged by the postal staff, and some other post offices will engage mobile teams.

«We are going to recruit employees precisely for these teams,» Inga Dundulienė, director of Postal Network Division of Lithuania Post, said.

Lithuania Post is intending employ 1-2 new employees for a fixed-term work from January 1 to March 1, 2015 in every region of Lithuania. The employees will be responsible for smooth currency exchange process, update of records in the information system used for the currency exchange, preparation of reports, etc.

Lithuanian president will not attend Polish Independence Day celebrations

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė will not attend Poland’s Independence Day commemoration in Warsaw.

The president’s press service told on Friday, November 7, that  «under a mutual agreement, the next meeting of the Lithuanian and Polish presidents will take place in early December », without elaborating.

By tradition, Lithuanian and Polish presidents usually attend the neighbouring countries’ Independence Day commemorations on February 16 and November 11.

Grybauskaitė attended such a commemoration in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013, and former Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus did that in 2007 and 2008.

In 2012, the Lithuanian president did not go to Warsaw for Independence Day commemoration. Her representatives then officially stated that she stayed in Vilnius due to important internal policy issues. But observers saw the move as a sign of deteriorating bilateral relations.

Polish presidents usually come to Vilnius to congratulate the people of Lithuanian on Independence Day on February 16.

World’s biggest LIKE to be lit in Lithuania

The resort of Druskininkai in southern Lithuania has announced of getting ready for litting the biggest Facebook’s LIKE symbol on Friday, November 7, and a symbolic capsule will be buried to mark the start of the construction of a cable car.

The LIKE symbol has been installed on the roof of the Snow Arena 50 meters above the ground.

The competition on where the symbol would be installed was launched by the State Tourism Department. Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga also took part in it.

The project cost almost LTL 230,000 (over EUR 66,000).

Ref: 020/

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Turkish journalist punished with prison term for tweet

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Police dismantle criminal group that caused damage worth seven million euros to the state

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Zariņš: deputies who vote for the state budget without amendments will have breached their vows

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Estonia’s ruling Centre Party shows door to 31 competing members

The leadership of Estonia's Center Party has accepted the proposals of the party's local branches on fellow members, who ran in the Estonian municipal elections this autumn from a separate list, and expelled 31 members from the political party.

Pabriks: state interests should be held higher than party interests

Latvia cannot be allowed to drown in provincialism. It is in the country’s interest to maintain a course towards European and NATO values. In a situation when the number of centric and European-oriented parties is large, it is becoming harder and harder, because it leads to political fragmentation, and the main goal of it is reaching the 5% barrier during elections, not ensuring growth and development for Latvia, says MEP Artis Pabriks.

Reacting to e-commerce growth, Omniva rushes to expand its parcel locker network

Estonian state-owned postal company Eesti Post, which operates the Omniva brand, stated that it will broaden its network of parcel lockers expand its current parcel machines up until Christmas.

Programme: introduction of ‘honest’ taxi counters is stuck

Taxi drivers that had to replace their counters as far back as 15 October, continue delaying the process, as reported by De Factor with reference to State Revenue Service.

Ministry considers reorganizing Latvian Environmental Protection Fund’s administration

After reviewing information from the State Audit, Latvian Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry may consider the possibility of reforming the administration of the Latvian Environmental Protection Fund.

Uber to buy 24 000 self-driving Volvo XC90s

U.S. ride-sharing technology firm Uber has agreed with Chinese-owned Swedish carmaker Volvo on the purchase of up to 24,000 self-driving cars.

Snow expected in Latvia this week

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Lengthy German coalition talks collapse

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airBaltic carried more than 4,780 in flights between Riga and Liepaja

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Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian parliament passes Magnitsky act

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Lembergs’ turn to testify before parliamentary committee has come

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How Latvian communities around the world plan to celebrate Latvia’s birthday?

«Celebration of independence of the Republic of Latvia is an important tradition that allows members of Latvia’s diaspora to maintain ties with their homeland – this year’s event will be even more expansive and inclusive than ever before. This is because events associated with the country’s hundredth birthday will be organized all around the world,» says manager of World Federation of Free Latvians office in Latvia Jānis Andersons.

European Parliament triggers punitive procedure against Poland

Members of the European Parliament have passed a resolution requesting for the application of the so-called «nuclear option» for Poland, Article 7 of the EU Treaty, because of the threat to the rule of law in the biggest Eastern European country.

Wage rules violations most often associated with envelope wages

To promote public awareness and improve commercial environment, honest competition and honest compliance with taxes, Latvia’s State Revenue Service intends to expand its database with new information about taxpayers, BNN was told by SRS.

Management of Unity’s Saeima faction to change in December

«Political consultations with all of Unity’s partner parties that are represented in the Saeima’s faction have concluded. An agreement has been reached to perform management change before the end of Saeima’s autumn session – around 21 December,» says Unity’s chairman Arvils Ašeradens.

EP prepared to commence talks with EU governments on reforming asylum system

The European Parliament is prepared to commence talks about reforming Dublin Regulation to ensure every member state is able to resettle a portion of asylum seekers.

Estonia to pour into Finnish-Estonian cultural fund 700 000 euros

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