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Week in Lithuania. Chinese dairy market open to Lithuania

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Lithuanian PM Algirdas Butkevičius met last Friday, March 25, with the top executives of the second in size and one of the fastest economically growing Chinese province of Shandong: Governor Guo Shuqing, and Vice-Governor Xia Geng to discuss, among other items, the establishment of Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce in the region of 98 million population.

In the meeting, Lithuanian PM emphasized among the other things that the ice-free Lithuanian port of Klaipėda is a year-round gateway between Europe and Asia.

«Lithuania, as the geographical centre of Europe, and capable to offer integrated transport infrastructure and skilled labour force, is like the gateway to the 500 million market of the European Union,» underlined the Prime Minister.

Later, the Lithuanian PM took part in the opening ceremony of the exhibition of contemporary Lithuanian children’s book illustrations.

Butkevičius praised China for its decision to allow Lithuanian dairy products to enter the Chinese market.

«On the last day of my visit to China, the head of the Chinese veterinary service informed me that the decision regarding a certificate for dairy products has already been made and that the documents will be prepared next week. China is opening the doors to its enormous market for us. This is a great success for Lithuania, and I hope that milk producers and exporters will make use of this enormous opportunity,» Lithuanian PM said after meeting Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

Defense of the Baltic countries is NATO’s priority

President Dalia Grybauskaitė met last Thursday, March 24, with NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow and members of the North Atlantic Council, who are ambassadors accredited by member states to NATO, to discuss the security challenges facing the Baltic countries and Europe, the increased threat of terrorism and preparations for the NATO summit due to take place in Warsaw this coming July. The President and members of the North Atlantic Council strongly condemned the brutal terror attacks in Brussels. According to Dalia Grybauskaitė, today terrorism is one of the greatest threats to all.

Foreign minister visiting Washington, D.C.

The Minister Linas Linkevičius is on visit to Washington, D.C. until April 2. He is as part of the delegation of the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė. He will hold bilateral meetings in the U.S. State Department and the Lithuanian Embassy.

Most popular politician in hot water

(Seimas) Lithuanian parliament voted on Friday, March 25, to postpone the new enactment of the new Code of Administrative Offences until 2017. The parliament was compelled to hurriedly hold an extraordinary session to put off the enforcement of the code and related legal acts, which it did with a vote of 97 to none with one abstention. The legislators, however, accused Interior Minister Saulius Skvernelis of failure to properly prepare for the new code, while the minister said the problem was that there was no sufficient funding to update the register of administrative offences. Skvernelis tops the ranking of the country’s most popular politicians so far.

Presentation of Madagascar on International Francophonie Day

On 24 March, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs celebrated the International Francophonie Day. A meeting with the Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Deputy Permanent Delegate of Madagascar to UNESCO Ny Toky Andriamanjato was held on this occasion. The participants of the event had an opportunity to acquaint themselves with Madagascar’s political situation, development prospects, history and culture. The participants were briefed about the goals and key items on the agenda of the Francophonie Summit to be held on November 26-27, 2016 in Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital city.

Electricity price surges as NordBalt cable malfunctions

With Lithuanian and Swedish grid interconnector NordBalt offline, the disruption has pushed up the electricity price on the Lithuanian trading zone at Nord Pool Spot Exchange. Lithuania said the repairs would take two weeks, while Sweden announced the interconnection should go back online on April 8.

Thousands of dairy farmers ready for protest in Vilnius

About 3,000 dairy farmers are planning to rally outside the Ministry of Agriculture in Vilnius this week, urging t government assistance amidst collapsing milk prices. Some of the protesters hinted they will bring cows to the building of Lithuanian government.

More U.S. troops to be deployed in Lithuania

U.S. will send more troops to Lithuania as it starts it preparations to step up its presence and capabilities in Europe, said United States Army Europe Commander Lieutenant General Ben Hodges.

Lithuania condemns illegal Russian court’s verdict against Nadiya Savchenko

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has strongly condemned the decision by the Donetsk City Court of the Russian Federation to sentence the Ukrainian fighter pilot Nadiya Savchenko to many years in prison.

Lithuania considers the actions taken by Russia’s law enforcement bodies against Nadiya Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov and Aleksandr Kolchenko, and other Ukrainian citizens – the unlawful detention, restrictions of their right to defence and imprisonment – breach of the principles of international law, human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Lithuania calls on Russian Government of Russia and its law enforcement authorities to respect human rights and to responsibly fulfil their international commitments in this field and to objectively examine the circumstances surrounding the illegal detention and imprisonment of the Ukrainian citizens.

PM: Interior minister can remain in post

Social Democratic Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius has said he sees no obstacles for Interior Minister Saulius Skvernelis to continue working in his government, despite his recent announcement that he will run for parliament with the Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union. The announcement has come as a surprise to many as the Social Democratic Party had been in talks with Skvernelis, who currently is Lithuania’s most popular politician, over his membership in the party.

PM extended greetings to Greece

PM Algirdas Butkevičius has congratulated Greece celebrating its Independence anniversary. Butkevičius has extended greetings to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and all the people of the country over the 195th anniversary of Independence.

«We appreciate the Lithuanian-Greek cooperation and excellent relations. On behalf of the people of Lithuania and myself, I express sincere greetings to the people of the Hellenic Republic celebrating the Independence Day, and I wish you every success, well-being and prosperity,» reads the greetings letter.

Klasco to pay out 3,5 million euro in dividends

Klaipėdos Jūrų Krovinių Kompanija (Klaipeda Stevedoring Company, or Klasco), which is part of Achemos Grupe (Achema Group), will distribute 3 million euros as dividends to shareholders, or 0.238 euros per share, after posting a pretax profit of 5.7 million euros for 2015. The company’s operating revenue came in at 44.8 million euros last year, almost unchanged from 44.4 million euros in 2014.

Finance minister supports VAT cuts to food

Lowering the value-added tax (VAT) rate for all goods and services would be preferable to exemptions on select products, like food, Lithuania’s Finance Minister Rimantas Šadžius.

Lithuanian company failed smooth pullout from Russia

Panevėžio Statybos Trestas (PST), one of the leading construction groups in Lithuania, has run into difficulties amid efforts to exit from Russia smoothly. Baltlitstroy, a company of the PST group, has not been paid approximately 100 million rubles (1.3 million euros) for extra works related to construction on a variety theatre in Svetlogorsk, the region of Kaliningrad, and therefore is unable to make payments to subcontractors.

Palanga Airport welcomes Wizzair

The first Wizzair plane from Luton Airport near London landed in Palanga Airport on Wednesday, March 23, boosting the business in the western part of Lithuania. This week, Raynair is expected to make the history with its plane scheduled to make its first-ever landing in Palanga Airport.

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