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Week in Lithuania. Country saw a record number of foreign investors in 2015

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Under the supervision of the Lithuanian Ministry of Economy, Investuok Lietuvoje, a foreign investment promotion agency in Lithuania, has achieved an all-time best result last year -31 new investment projects were started in Lithuania in 2015.

At the number, it was 20 percent more than in the previous year. It is expected that the new investments will create 2600 new jobs in the country, or50 percent more than in 2014.

According to minister Evaldas Gustas, even in a moderate estimate, the projects started last year will bring over 150 million euro in financial benefit, whereas the direct economic benefit, i.e. the added value from the projects, should be in a range of around a half billion euros.Nasdaq, Uber, AIG, Intermedix, Teleperformance, Revel Systems and some other famous brands have chosen Lithuania as the destination for their investment.

International security issues discussed

Last Monday, January 18, President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with foreign ambassadors accredited to Lithuania to discuss the international security situation, trends in the global economy and the challenges facing the international community and Lithuania in 2016.

According to the President, as military aggression at Europe’s borders and inside Europe persists, international terrorist threats increase and the migration crisis continues, international security will remain a key challenge for the global community.During the meeting, the President thanked NATO allies contributing to ensure the security of Lithuania and emphasized that at the NATO summit in Warsaw Lithuania would aim to further enhance the Alliance’s defense capacities in the Baltic countries and reduce the time lap for responding to threats.

Lithuania gives away one million euro to airlines

The Lithuanian government announced it has distributed 1 million euro for foreign airlines in order to boost the popularity of the current flights and add new air routes. While state subsidies in Lithuania are usually given to promote incoming tourism, some critics say that only Lithuanian migrant workers will benefit from extra flights.

President: EU must tighten migration policies or risk political instability

In an interview to Bloomberg, Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė reiterated that the European Union must toughen its immigration policies as a massive influx of refugees could otherwise create political instability. In another interview, the head-of-state told that Russia’s continuous economic hardships can set off danger to Lithuania.

Foreign Minister and Ukrainian Ambassador discuss security situation

On Wednesday, January 20, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius and Ukraine’s new Ambassador to Lithuania Volodymyr Yatsenkivskiy discussed the implementation of the Minsk agreements and deteriorating security situation in eastern Ukraine. The Ambassador informed Lithuania’s Foreign Minister about Ukraine’s actions to ensure success of the peace process in the country, the Normandy Four talks. The Ambassador expressed concerns that despite the Minsk peace accords, Russia failed to fulfil its obligations, its weapons and mercenaries were still in the territory of Ukraine and Ukraine had not regained control over its state border with Russia in Donbas.

Lithuanian police launch raids

Illegal poultry imports from Poland is an exacerbating problem that has not been addressed properly, insists Lithuania’s Agriculture minister Virginija Baltraitienė said after law enforcement and tax authorities busted a network that processed and sold unaccounted and possibly substandard products. Lithuanian police launch raids on illegal meat processing plants Thursday, January 21. The police and tax authorities have raided illegal meat processing plants across Lithuania in one of the biggest operations in the last decade. In over 200 raids, police caught 17 companies operating illegally and impounded 11 tons of poultry illegally imported from Poland.

Sweeping overhaul of tax revenues service proposed

Lithuania’s Finance Ministry has proposed an overhaul of Lithuania’s State Tax Revenue Service (VMI). If carried out, the number of regional divisions will be cut in half.

Protest at Norwegian embassy in Vilnius

Following a string of cases, when the Norwegian child welfare agency took away children from Lithuanian parents living in Norway, a protest at Norwegian embassy in Vilnius was held. The protesters blamed the Norwegian child welfare agency, Barnevernet, for stealing children and accused it with cruelty. A dozen people participated in the protest.

Lithuania wants EU to increase its engagement in Ukraine

Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister Linas Linkevičius attended Thursday, January 21, the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council, which discussed Syria, Iraq and Ukraine.Ministers discussed Ukraine, with a focus on the country’s reform process, and shared their views on how the EU could best support the reforms, giving the process a new momentum. Linkevičius stressed that it was important to help Ukraine implement the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) part of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which provisionally entered into force on January ą, 2016 and to look for ways to help the country after Russia’s food embargo against Ukraine and its ban on transit of Ukrainian goods through Russia’s territory.

Proposal on female genital mutilation ban

Lithuanian Social Democratic MP Giedrė Purvaneckienė has drafted a bill which, if passed, would outlaw female genital mutilation. The politician insists it may become an issue with the resettlement of refugees.

Lietuvos Energija purchases two wind farms in Lithuania and Estonia

The state-owned energy group Lietuvos Energija has acquired two companies managing wind parks in Lithuania and Estonia – UAB Eurakras and Tuulueenergia OU. Thus the state-owned group of companies increased its energy production capacities with additional 42.3 megawatts (MW). The strategic acquisitions expands and diversifies the range of operations, will increase the value of the Group and the dividends paid to the State.Wind power capacity managed by Lietuvos energija, will produce 136,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, which would amount to the annual electricity demand of Klaipėda city.

A treetop walk receives tourism innovation award

A treetop walkway in Anykščiai has been awarded as one of the most innovative tourism projects at the UN World Tourism Organizations’s (UNWTO) 12th Excellence and Innovation in Tourism awards, reported The Lithuania Tribune. The treetop walking path, a project by Anykščiai Regional Park, is a 300-metre walkway rising to 21m above ground. It was opened last August and has been very popular with domestic and international tourists. Sixteen tourism projects have been shortlisted for UNWTO awards in four categories. Anykščiai treetop walk was one of the five finalists for the UNWTO Award for Innovation in Enterprises.

Lithuanian swimming star back to competition

Rūta Meilutytė, Lithuania’s woman swimming star, says she has overcome injuries and is ready to compete again. Her first appearance after a nagging elbow injury will be a competition next week in 2016 Euro Meet in Luxembourg. Lithuania sees Meilutytė as a most potential gold medal winner in the Olympic Games in Rio in summer.

New social model will help country’s labour market

In the Ministerial Meeting on Labour and Employment organised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, the representatives from over 40 countries discussed how to build more resilient and inclusive labour markets. Lithuanian Minister of Social Security and Labour Algimanta Pabedinskienė presented the proposed Lithuanian social model to the participants as an example in striving to achieve labour market resilience.

PM: Lithuania will manage to integrate refugees

Lithuania will manage to successfully integrate refugees from the Middle East, Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius believes, but said that the process will present many challenges. Lithuania is to accept 325 refugees over the next two years. Lithuania expected to welcome its first refugees from the quota at the end of last year, but refugees are reportedly refusing to come to a country they have not heard of.

President: information technologies must benefit women’s leadership

President Dalia Grybauskaitė, who attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, took part also in a high-level discussion held by the Women in Parliaments Global Forum. This discussion focused on the promotion of women’s participation and leadership in politics and social life via smart technologies and social networks.
With more than 308 thousand followers on Facebook, the President was introduced at the event as one of the world’s most popular women leaders active on social networks. Dalia Grybauskaitė, who is Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders, was a special guest in this discussion. Addressing more than 160 global business and media representatives as well as NGO members, the President emphasized that information technologies and social networks enabled every person to become part of world events and opened up more opportunities to engage in politics and social life.

The head-of-state noted that Lithuania is a leader in Europe not only in terms of the number of educated women – 95 percent of Lithuanian women have secondary or high education – but also in terms of developing computer literacy.

Vilnius ponders to break up ill-famed Roma town

Vilnius authorities are mulling to integrate the capital’s Roma population into the society. It involves breaking up the notorious Roma town, known as Taboras, on the outskirts of Vilnius, which has become a hub for drug sales. A dozen drug use-related deaths have been reported in the settlement and its vicinities over the last year.

Lithuania is entering the world’s science elite

President Dalia Grybauskaitė visited the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the largest scientific institution in the world, last Wednesday, January 20. Lithuania is submitting an official application to become an associate member of CERN; therefore, the President and Fabiola Gianotti, Director-General of CERN, discussed further steps to ensure membership in this prestigious scientific institution.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research is the largest and most advanced scientific institution employing the most talented scientists on the planet and carrying out unique scientific experiments that can change the future of humankind. Only a very limited number of states become members of CERN. It currently has 21 members and 2 associate members. Membership in CERN is directly related to membership in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which places special focus on innovation.
Every year, about 20 Lithuanian scientists do an internship in the organization. Joint projects are carried out with Vilnius University, Vilnius Gediminas Technological University, Kaunas University of Technology, and the laser manufacturing companies Ekspla and Standa.

Lithuanian Football Federation elects new president

New Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF) president Edvinas Eimontas is beginning his first mandate after being elected for a four-year term.

Legislative initiative for presidents’ spouses

The Lithuanian Government has endorsed a proposal to eliminate annuities for presidents’ widows or widowers. Based on the proposed rules, the spouse of a president would instead receive a state pension, which is expected to be a sum equal to one-tenth of the President’s salary.
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