Last Wednesday, April 27, President Dalia Grybauskaitė greeted and took a closer look at the cutting-edge U.S. F-22 Raptor fighter jets which landed at the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Zokniai.
The stealthy warplanes, arguably the planet’s most advanced fighter jets, have touched down in Lithuania for the first time. This is one of the world’s most advanced military aircraft which is impossible to detect on radar.
According to the President, these fighter jets are of special significance to the Baltic countries as NATO’s collective defence and deterrence measure to ensure effective airspace defence and prevent a possible military isolation of the region.
Dalia Grybauskaitė underlined that the landing of F-22 Raptor fighter jets in Lithuania sent a very clear signal of the U.S. and NATO solidarity, showing that the Alliance was strongly committed to the defense of the Baltic countries.
Free trade with the United States benefits Lithuania
President Dalia Grybauskaitė has met with Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade, to discuss the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations between the EU and the United States and the EU’s relations with the Eurasian Economic Union.
According to the President, the EU-U.S. free trade agreement, which will strengthen transatlantic relations, is important for Lithuania and the whole of Europe. Lithuania would be among the EU countries benefiting the most – free trade with the United States is expected to increase Lithuania’s GDP by 1.6 percent and its exports by 17 percent.
Foreign trade is important for the Lithuanian economy. Exports account for nearly 80 percent of the Lithuanian GDP; therefore, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which would remove trade barriers between the EU and the United States, would be particularly beneficial for our country.
President met her Slovakian counterpart
Last Saturday, April 23, President Dalia Grybauskaitė held a bilateral meeting with President Andrej Kiska of Slovakia which will take over the Presidency of the EU in July. According to the Lithuanian President, as Europe is looking for ways to manage the migration crisis, Slovakia will have a very difficult presidency and a great responsibility to coordinate the interests of all member states and to find effective solutions. Grybauskaitė once again highlighted Lithuania’s position that it was most important to guarantee the protection of the EU’s external borders and demonstrate solidarity that was based on understanding rather than force in granting asylum and ensuring the integration of refugees who came to Europe.
Lithuanian Foreign minister paid visit to Moldova
Last Wednesday, April 27, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius paid an official visit to Chișinău, the capital city of Moldova. Meetings with Moldova’s President Nicolae Timofti, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Andrei Galbur, party leaders and representatives from the opposition focused on Moldova’s aspirations for the implementation of reforms, plans for bilateral cooperation and the country’s internal political situation.
In the meetings, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister called for concerted efforts by all political forces in Moldova to implement the reforms that were the key to the success of Moldova’s European integration.
Lithuanian Embassy in Kyiv holds meeting of NATO Ambassadors
Last Thursday, April 28,a meeting of NATO Ambassadors took place at the Embassy of Lithuania in Ukraine on April 27. The meeting focused on preparations for NATO Summit in Warsaw, the partnership between NATO and Ukraine, and other important issues.
The Director of the NATO Liaison Office in Ukraine Alexander Vinnikov briefed the Ambassadors about the outcomes of this month’s visits to Kyiv of the NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow and the Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee Petr Pavel, preparations for the next NATO Summit in Warsaw, and the NATO-Russia Council meeting.
Chernobyl catastrophe reminds of importance of nuclear safety standards
Last Tuesday, April 26, with the world commemorating the 30th anniversary of the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, Lithuania’s Foreign minister Linas Linkevičius said: «The Ukrainian and Belarusian people, other neighbours, nature and the whole of Europe have suffered the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. A radioactive cloud drifted over most of European countries, including Lithuania. The exclusion zone was established around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after the disaster. It is still considered to be one of the world’s most polluted places. And today, even 30 years later, we feel humanitarian, ecological and economic consequences,» said Linas Linkevičius.
Lithuania-Romania partnership discussed in Vilnius
Last Monday, April 25, in Vilnius, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius met with the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania Victor Micula to discuss bilateral relations, preparations for the next NATO Summit in Warsaw, the EU’s Eastern Partnership policy, and the situation in Moldova.
Archaeologists hunt for presidential ship at bottom of Baltic Sea
Klaipėda University (KU) scientists are trying to locate a legendary interwar ship President Smetona used by the president in 1926-1940 in the Baltic Sea. The expedition aiming to find the ship is underway.
Arvydas Sabonis to become Lidl’s «face»?
Lithuanian basketball prodigy Arvydas Sabonis will likely become the face for German grocery chain Lidl’s operations in Lithuania, where it is opening a number of stores. Lidl has not yet confirmed the news but both leading Lithuanian newspapers Verslo Žinios and Lietuvos Rytas quoted sources confirming that Sabonis would launch Lidl’s campaign.
Extreme temperature swings in April
The extreme temperature swings that Lithuanians have experienced this April are as a result of climate change, said Lithuanian climatologist Donatas Valiukas. However, the sudden bursts of heat alternating with cold spells are nothing compared to what is to come in the future, he said.
Russia may penetrate into Lithuania by trains
The menace of Russian secret agents or hostile forces penetrating Lithuania by train is real, according to the head of Lithuania‘s border guard service. «Three years ago, 130 Russian military personnel entered Lithuania, 32 of them were unauthorized, and so measures have been taken now to stop them coming through,» said the Kena cordon Deputy Commander Major Pranskus.
Lithuania in top of Europe’s 20 most influential countries
Influential platform Politico has ranked Lithuania as one of the top 20 most influential countries in Europe. Lithuania was ranked the 17th most influential country in Europe by Politico. The most influential countries within the European Union were Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy. Turkey came in 5th, since the rankings also considered candidate states. The high position was largely based on Turkey’s «standing invitation» to EU summits and its pivotal role in the refugee deal.
Lithuanian scientist nominated for European Inventor of the Year
Lithuanian scientist, Professor Arminas Ragauskas has been nominated for the European Inventor Award, the first Lithuanian ever to be nominated for this award. Arminas Ragauskas Professor Ragauskas and his colleagues Gediminas Daubaris and Algis Džiugas have patented an intracranial pressure measuring method and device in the EU and the United States that is being used by NASA to test the effect of long space flights on astronauts.
Prosecutors appeal ruling in Labour Party’s book-cooking case
The Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office has appealed a ruling in the Labour Party’s book cooking case to the Supreme Court and asked it to send the case back to the Court of Appeals Court re-examination. Vitalija Vonžutaitė, Vytautas Gapšys, Viktoras Uspaskichas. «The appeal raises the issues of fraud through tax evasion, the statute of limitation, liability in the event of the reorganization of a legal entity, as well as civil claim issues,» Prosecutor Saulius Verseckas told.
Social Democrats scrap dual citizenship idea
The ruling Lithuanian Social Democratic Party has decided to abandon a legislative initiative to call a referendum on dual citizenship that was initially proposed to be held alongside parliamentary elections this October.«We think the proposal is unrealistic and the referendum would probably fail,» Seimas Vice-Speaker Gediminas Kirkilas told.
New political group forms in Druskininkai
Druskininkai Mayor Ričardas Malinauskas, who left the Social Democrats after a string of scandals involving his name, his fellow party members of the SD Druskininkai branch are working on a new movement. Ričardas Malinauskas. «Nearly 100 people gathered and we decided to create a movement of our own,» Malinauskas told last Thursday, April 28.
Lithuanian NBA player Motiejūnas eliminated from NBA play-offs
Donatas Motiejūnas and the Houston Rockets were eliminated from the NBA playoffs by a Stephen Curry-less Golden State Warriors in a crushing defeat last night. The Rockets unexpectedly scraped into the play-offs with a late three-game surge but their loss to the NBA champions in the next game, 114-81, has shattered the NBA further advancement dream.