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Lithuania’s political and economic news diary. Court bans broadcasting of Russia’s TV channel

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUHaving found that TV programs instigated enmity and warmongering, court in Lithuania ruled that broadcasting of a Russian TV channel must bbe banned for three months.

The Vilnius court upheld the decision of the Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission, a local TV content watchdog, after it submitted additional argumentation to prove that the channel Ren TV Baltic was spreading hate speech.

«After examining the content of decision made by the Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission on January 12 and a recording of a programme, the court decided that the commission’s decision is legitimate and well-grounded, and the envisaged measure is in proportion to the infringement.

The evidence submitted to the court unconditionally proved that the programme indeed shaped the audience’s opinion about the Western world aiming to destroy the relations between Ukraine and Russia, as well as destabilize the situation in the region. Misleading information about Ukraine’s history and relations with other countries including the Baltic States was deliberately disseminated, hatred was instigated with regard to Ukraine and the Ukrainian nation, America, Poland and the Baltic states,» the court’s spokeswoman was quoted as saying.

Lithuania’s new Ambassador to Russia: thaw in bilateral ties is visible

Lithuania’s new Ambassador to Russia Remigijus Motuzas has stated that he does see signs of thaw in Vilnius-Moscow relations.

«We see certain signs of understanding and improvement,» the diplomat noted in a video-conference.

Before departing for Moscow, the new Ambassador said that many Russian diplomats condemned the Soviet past.

«Although Russia is formally the legal successor, they are a new generation today, there are diplomats and people who condemn the Soviet past and understand that it was the totalitarian regime, but they do not want to take the responsibility and sometimes say we were equal,» said Motuzas.

The Ambassador said he spoke to Russian diplomats about the need to resume the dialogue.

Speaking about the problems Lithuanian cargo carriers are facing, he said Russia should provide information publicly and in writing.

Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė stated last week that she saw no grounds for resuming dialogue with Russia and easing the European Union’s (EU) sanctions as long as Moscow was engaged in aggression.

Ilja Laurs is No 1 on most desired employers’ list in Lithuania

If Lithuanians could opt for working for anyone, on top would be Ilja Laurs, according to a survey by job-ads website CVMarket.lt. According to the website, Lithuanians favour modern employers who treat employees fairly and provide opportunities for professional and personal growth.

Ilja Laurs is the founder and chairman of venture capital fund Nextury Ventures which invests in start-ups. Laurs is best known for establishing mobile app store GetJar.com.

Antanas Guoga, Member of the European Parliament and owner of betting company Tonybet, came second. They were followed by Benas Gudelis, owner of Kristiana and Fragrances International, who was third, and Arvydas Avulis, owner of real estate company Hanner, who was placed fourth

Lithuanian President Grybauskaitė: EU economy needs reforms and investment

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with Valdis Dombrovskis, vice-president of the European Commission responsible for deepening EU’s economic and monetary union and promoting social dialogue at EU level.

According to the President, Lithuania was well prepared for euro adoption; therefore the currency changeover process is going smoothly. By joining the euro area, Lithuania has taken one more step towards deeper European integration, strengthening the confidence of international markets in our country which will contribute to the stable growth of Lithuania’s economy.

Grybauskaitė and Dombrovskis discussed, as a priority item on the EU economic policy agenda, the promotion of investments to the EU economy and the implementation of the Investment Plan for Europe endorsed by the European Council in December. This plan will help attract EUR 315 billion of private investments to the EU economy and add over 1.3 million new jobs. For Lithuania, it is yet another opportunity to ensure the financing of important projects in energy, IT, transport, and research spheres.

The Lithuanian head of state and the European Commission Vice-President also exchanged views on carrying through the reforms needed for boosting the EU’s economic revival and competitiveness. To this end, it is essential to speed up completing the European single market and reduce restrictions and bureaucratic burdens on businesses across the EU.

Among the other issues discussed at the meeting was the need to continue responsible financial policy by all member states, reduce the budget deficit and divert public funds to stimulating economic growth and job creation.

Lithuanian president to attend Holocaust remembrance events in Poland

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė announced she will be attending Holocaust remembrance events in Poland on January 27.

The commemoration will take place at the location of the Auschwitz death camp. The liberation of the death camp will be commemorated at the local museum that day.

The main ceremony near the camp gate will be led by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski.

Russia announced that President Vladimir Putin would not attend the event.

Euros account for 60 percent of cash in circulation in Lithuania

After two weeks since the adoption of the euro, the currency now accounts for more than one-half, or some 60 percent, of cash in circulation in Lithuania, the central Bank of Lithuania said.

Thursday, January 15, was the last day when shoppers could use currencies, the euro and the litas, to pay in shops.

According to the central bank’s data, there were EUR1.455 billion (59 percent) and EUR 991 million worth of litas (41 percent) in circulation on Thursday morning.

«In terms of value, the amount of euros in circulation now exceeds the amount of litas by nearly 50 percent. The euro is making its way into Lithuania in a steady and consistent way. People are getting used to the new currency that has smoothly replaced the litas, which was in circulation for more than two decades,» Vitas Vasiliauskas, the governor of the central bank, said in a press release.

Between January 1 and 14, EUR 695.1 million worth of litas, including 22.2 million banknotes and 38.8 million coins, were withdrawn from circulation. From 1 January 2014, EUR 2.46 billion worth of litas were withdrawn in total, including 421.6 tons of litas coins and 61.2 tons of bills.

Ernst&Young upbeat about Lithuania’s economic prospects

Ernst&Young forecasts that Lithuania’s GDP will grow 3.6 percent in 2015. The adoption of the euro, reduced financial risks and cheaper borrowing will allow the Lithuanian economy to grow three times faster than the euro area average, whereas in two years economic growth can reach a 5-percent rate.

«In the next four years, Lithuania’s growth will surpass eurozone average several times. Other Baltic states will show similar tendencies. Hence even though our region accounts only for 0.8 percent of the total eurozone GDP, it will spearhead the growth,» said Jonas Akelis, Ernst&Young Managing Partner in the Baltic States.

However, inflation is expected to increase slightly. Ernst&Young analysts forecast that in 2015 inflation rate will reach 1.4 percent, while in 2016-2018 inflation is not expected to exceed 2 percent.

Tom Rogers, economist of Oxford Economics, says that Lithuania’s growth prospects are among the best in the single currency market as growing export will lead to private investment increase, which in turn will be encouraged by loosening monetary policy in the region. According to the economist, Lithuania should remain the fastest growing economy at least until 2018.

Moreover, unemployment should decrease much faster in Lithuania compared to the euro area. By 2018 it should decrease by 4 percentage points, from 11.4 to 7.5 percent.

Delfi offices shut in the wake of threatening letter

A powder-containing letter has arrived in the office of Delfi.lt, the trendiest Lithuanian news portal. It also contained threats in Russian.

Emergency services have been informed about the delivery. The Delfi office in Vilnius was shut down and the personnel evacuated.

The letter, addressed to editor-in-chief of Delfi Monika Garbačiauskaitė-Budrienė, contains a threat that «it will soon be like in Paris» and a hand-drawn picture of a coffin.

The alleged sender given on the envelope is the President’s former adviser Daiva Ulbinaitė.

Delfi is the biggest online news source in Lithuania and has previously been targeted by hacker attacks, most likely due to its strong stance critical of Russia’s foreign policies.

Baltic ministers sign declaration on energy security

In Riga, on January 14, ministers responsible for energy policy in the three Baltic States signed the Declaration on Energy Security of Supply of the Baltic States, the Ministry of Energy reports.

Minister of Economics of Latvia Dana Reizniece-Ozola, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure of Estonia Urve Palo, and Minister of Energy of Lithuania Rokas Masiulis acknowledged importance of regional cooperation in order to end the isolation of Baltic energy market and further integrate it into the internal European energy market.

The Baltic States welcome the European Commission’s communication on European Energy Security Strategy and will channel all efforts into its implementation, especially to ensure a timely completion of key security of supply infrastructure projects.

Minister of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania, Rokas Masiulis said that for the first time the countries’ top officials have managed to come to a common agreement that it is of crucial importance to ensure the implementation of the EU Third Energy Package together with clear, transparent and competitive rules for third party access to the gas system throughout the Baltic States. Signing of an energy security of supply declaration marks the beginning of the important and irreversible shift in our region towards liberal, transparent, competitive and fully functioning regional gas and electricity markets.

Ref: 020/111.111.111.2098


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