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Tuesday 22.08.2017 | Name days: Rudīte, Everts
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Lithuania’s political and economic diary. Lithuanian economy to grow fastest in Baltics during 2014-2015

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

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: 020/111.111.111.1933


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Experts explain why a teenager’s «I don’t know» is so dangerous

Most often we say things like «I don’t know» because we are afraid of making choices. Reaching their teens, youngsters become more independent, and the inability to make responsible decisions and say «no» can have serious consequences, says psychologist Sabine Vilcina and youth motivation programme «MOT. Izvēlies drosmi!» manager Ilze Paidere-Stake.

Traders: following VAT decline, prices of goods will decline as well

Latvian Association of Food Traders supports Agriculture Ministry’s proposal to reduce VAT rate for food and separate food product groups. Traders confirm that this step will also reduce food product prices in stores.

The most major risks and solutions for real estate purchase and rent with option to buy

To acquire housing in one’s property, often residents use rent with an option to buy. Sworn attorney Zanda Zaluma of Eversheds Sutherland Bitāns shares advice resident should keep in mind when signing real estate contracts.

Finance Minister: businessmen will be forced to pay larger wages

The current market situation shows that Latvia should speed up its education reform and think about attracting additional human resources from other countries, said Latvian Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Latvia to procure Stinger anti-air missile launchers

A mutual contract has been signed between Latvian Defence Ministry and Danish Defence Ministry for the procurement of anti-air missile launchers used by the Danish armed forces, as confirmed by Latvian Defence Ministry.

Oil prices and stock exchange indexes decline in Europe

On Monday, 21 August, oil prices declined. Exchange indexes in USA increased slightly, whereas exchange indexes in Europe declined because of concerns over the policy implemented by the administration of US President Donald Trump.

Terrorists in Barcelona were planning three explosions

Terrorists, who performed two attacks in Catalonia last week, were initially planning to blow up three shuttle buses in crowded areas in Barcelona, as reported by El Espano.

Lawyer: Maxima wants to earn by reducing compensations for the tragedy

Maxima Latvija and Zolitude 21.11 have reached an agreement on payment of EUR 900,000 to support victims of Zolitude tragedy – EUR 5,000 to EUR 75,000 to each person, as reported by Maxima Latvija.

Producer prices in industry in Latvia grew 0.4% in July

Compared to June, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry rose by 0.4 % in July 2017. The prices of products sold on the domestic market increased by 0.5 %, whereas the prices of exported products grew by 0.3 %.

Enefit: Latvia reduces electricity price difference with neighbouring countries

In recent years, Latvia has managed to reduce the electricity price difference with other Baltic neighbouring countries, as reported by Enefit Chairman Janis Bethers.

Farmers Saeima: butter price will not remain high for long

The high price on butter in Latvia will not remain so high for long, said Farmers Saeima Vice-Chairperson Maira Dzelzkaleja-Burmistre in an interview to 900 seconds programme of LNT.

Aseradens elected as chairman of Unity; Krisjanis Karins to lead party’s city council faction

Unity elected Economy Minister Arvils Aseradens as the new chairman of the party. MEP Krisjanis Karins has been elected as the party’s leader in Riga City Council with Santa Zarane as his deputy.

LPS manager: forming the budget, it is important for municipal funding to stay the same

In the formation process of the next year’s state budget, it is necessary to guarantee finances do not reduce for municipalities, said the chairman of Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments Gints Kaminskis in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Police to organize inspections in stores; parents asked to watch their children as well

For the new school year, Riga Municipal Police will be performing regular inspections at stores, bars and cafes from 21 August to 31 August, as well as the first days of September, to make sure minors are not sold alcohol and tobacco products, BNN was told by police.

Colder masses of air to enter Latvia this week; more rain expected

This week’s weather in Latvia will be dictated by a cyclone hovering above Northern Europe. Colder masses of air will flow into the country. A lot of rain is expected in Latvia this week, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Kirsis asks police to assess possible forging of votes at Riga City Council

Riga City Council’s Unity faction chairman Vilnis Kirsis has asked State Police to check if the city council’s electronic voting system was used without another deputy’s knowledge or consent, said the politician.

Expert: attack in Spain shows how terrorists switched to more easily reachable targets

Terrorist attacks that transpired in Spain this week shows how terrorists have switched to more easily reachable targets, where security requirements are not as strict, says Latvian National Defence Academy’s Security and Strategic Research Centre researcher Martins Hirss.

New mandatory tests in schools to be introduced four years from now

In four years’ time – 2021/2022 school year – it is planned to introduce completely new mandatory tests in schools, as reported by State Education Content Centre Director Guntars Catlaks.

Nearly 9,000 children and their parents got homes thanks to state support programme

In the first half-year of 2017, state support helped 1,527 families in Latvia to buy homes. Compared with last year, families’ demand for state support has grown 6%, as reported by Altum finance institute.

Prediction: Aseradens will likely take control over Unity

Economy Minister Arvils Aseradens will become the head of Unity, Betsafe bookmakers predict. The possibility of Aseradens becoming the head of the party is given 45% probability by Betsafe.

Provisional estimate for next year’s fiscal space in Latvia is EUR 60 million

Next year’s fiscal space has been estimated at EUR 60 million, as noted by Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola, adding that a more precise estimate will be available at the end of August.

Reconstruction of Vilnius airport runway concludes; aircraft return to Vilnius

On Thursday, 17 August, Vilnius airport’s runway was festively opened. This was the most massive reconstruction for the airport in the past 20 years. It was a unique project for Lithuania and all of Europe, airport representatives say.

Islamic State terrorist group takes responsibility for Barcelona attack

The recent terrorist attack in Barcelona, in which a shuttle bus rammed a crowd of people on La Rambla, killing 13 and injuring at least 100, has become this week’s topic.

Weather in Latvia to be warm but rainy on weekends

The sun will appear every now and then between clouds on Friday, 18 August. Still, some rain is expected, especially in the afternoon in Latvia’s eastern regions, where thunderstorms may appear. Rain is expected to reach the capital in the afternoon. Wind will draw in from the south. Air temperature will reach +21° C… +26° C, according to State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Latvia’s export growth was moderately rapid in the first six months of 2017

Compared with the same period of 2016, Latvia experienced a moderately rapid export growth in the first six months of 2017, according to data published by Eurostat on Thursday, 17 August.

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