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Wednesday 26.10.2016 | Name days: Kaiva, Amanda, Amanta

Week in Lithuania. Economy to grow in 2016, but forecasts differ

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

Lithuania’s economy will grow by 2.8% this year, predicts SEB Bank. Meanwhile, Ernst&Young says that, although significantly shrunk export markets and droopy Russian economy last year slowed Lithuania’s GDP growth, but it should nevertheless grow twice as fast in 2015 and go up from 1.6 to 3.2% in 2016.

Snow Meeting participants met with President

President Dalia Grybauskaitė met on Thursday, January 14, with influential foreign and security policy experts, analysts, influential political scientists, and public opinion makers taking part in the traditional Snow Meeting. This year, the Snow Meeting focuses on the situation in Ukraine and preparations for the NATO summit in Warsaw in July. The President and political science experts discussed the international security environment as well as relevant issues concerning NATO and the fight against hostile propaganda. According to Dalia Grybauskaitė, in almost over a decade the Snow Meeting has become a successful informal high-level platform for experts from various countries to share their insights and experience. The Snow Meeting took place in Trakai on January 14-15.

Letters of credence by Ukrainian Ambassador received

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė has accepted letters of credence from Volodymyr Yatsenkivskyi, Ambassador of Ukraine. In a brief speech, the President emphasized that Lithuania has always supported Ukraine’s independence and fight for its democratic future; therefore, it is important to further ensure Lithuania’s political and practical support to Ukraine. Among the other issues discussed at the meeting was the situation in Eastern Ukraine and deeply concerning renewed military actions.The President and the Ambassador discussed Ukraine’s ongoing reforms in the judicial, banking, anti-corruption, energy, and other sectors.

Lithuanian will allot 10 million euros to attract foreign investors

Economy Minister Evaldas Gustas told on Monday, January 11, that 10 million euros will be allocated to attract foreign investors.

«To attract foreign investments to Lithuania the Ministry of Economy will allocate 10 million euros of the European Union (EU) investment funds under the «SmartInvest Lt» measure. We will allocate the EU investments to foreign investors who carry out R&D activities, create or develop the company’s infrastructure in this area and introduce innovation. Also, the project operators will have to dedicate at least 20% of the created new jobs to research jobs and keep them for a period of at least five years. Foreign investors may submit applications until April 11 of the current year,» minister said.

Only projects which belong to the same specialisation trend category may compete for the funding.

Uber joins Lithuanian Business Confederation

Uber Lithuania Software and Development has joined the Lithuanian Business Confederation, a group that unifies the biggest service companies in the country. According to the president of the confederation, Valdas Sutkus, «Uber will make a breakthrough in passenger transportation services, because this service can be provided by anyone who has a properly working car». The digital platform will allow students or older people to earn additional money at a convenient time because there are no heavy restrictions.

PM met President of Belgian Senate

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius met on Thursday, January 14, with President of the Belgian Senate Christine Defraigne, who was on her visit to Lithuania. In the meeting, bilateral relations have been discussed. The Prime Minister has stressed the interest to strengthen economic cooperation, and has thanked Belgium for its active engagement in NATO’s air-policing mission in the Baltic region.

«We appreciate excellent political, economic, and cultural relations between Lithuania and Belgium, as well as our sustainable partnership in the European Union and NATO formats. We are particularly grateful for the visibility of your forces in our region, which helps ensure security for all the three Baltic states ,» said the Head of Lithuanian Government.

Direct investment in Lithuania by Belgium currently totals 125.54 million euros, and Belgium is on the list of top 20 foreign investors in Lithuania.

Prime Minister met American Jewish Committee delegation

Lithuanian PM Algirdas Butkevičius and the First Deputy Chancellor of the Government Rimantas Vaitkus have met with members of the American Jewish Committee. In the meeting, Lithuania’s efforts to restore historical justice and preserve the Jewish cultural heritage in the country have been underlined, close cooperation between the Government and the Lithuanian as well as international Jewish communities has been noted, and opinions and insights into international developments have been shared.

Executive of the American Jewish Committee David Harris said that the time of the visit in Lithuania was not accidental; it is because members of the Committee wanted to express their solidarity with the Lithuanian nation. He has noted that the American Jewish Committee had been among the first US non-governmental organisations that had urged the US administration to recognize Lithuania’s independence.

New ambassadors to Lithuania greeted

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičiusmet on Tuesday, January 12, with in-coming ambassador of Greece to the Republic of Lithuania Iraklis Asteriadis. During the meeting, the Head of Government has stressed the importance of strengthening economic relations, discussed prospects for direct flights Vilnius-Athens, and highlighted the need for the two countries to implement the European Union measures in the field of migration. Over the recent years, Lithuania-Greece trade turnover has come up by 39%, thus witnessing the growing interest from the businesses of the two countries.

Prior the day, Butkevičius met with new Hungarian Ambassador Zoltan Jancsi to discuss bilateral relations and further cooperation in the international format, particularly focusing on the European Union and NATO.

Kalashnikov-wielding escapee tops Lithuania’s Google searches in 2015

Igoris Molotkovas, a Kalashnikov-brandishing escapee who ran away from negligent police officers’ in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius in November was the most searched on the Internet person in Lithuania last year. Google search results also show that Lithuanians were keen on solar eclipses and basketball among other things.

Lithuania and the United States discussed regional security agenda

Lithuanian Foreign Affairs minister Linas Linkevičius and the United States Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland have discussed the implementation of decisions on NATO’s adaptation to the changed security environment in the run-up to the NATO Summit in Warsaw. In the meeting, the officials also exchanged their opinions on Russia’s role in the conflicts in eastern Ukraine and Syria. The meeting was dominated by a consensus that sanctions against Russia should remain in place until full implementation of the Minsk agreements on the resolution of the situation in eastern Ukraine. The officials discussed issues related to defence cooperation among the United States of America, the Baltic and the Nordic countries, as well as energy security and the need to strengthen the dialogue with the Eastern Partnership countries.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister met with UK’s Minister of State forEurope

Lithuanian Foreign Affairs minister Linas Linkevičius met on Thursday, January 14, with the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Europe David Lidington. The meeting focused on issues related to EU reforms, security policy, relations with Russia, the situation in Ukraine and bilateral agenda.

As regards the possible EU reforms, Linkevičius noted that Lithuania was willing to look for solutions to strengthen the EU. «We support proposals to promote the EU’s competitiveness and to reduce the burden of business regulation. We also understand that the UK has a right to choose the depth of integration with the EU. However, the proposed reforms cannot discriminate against the citizens of the EU and violate the fundamental EU principle – the freedom of movement of persons,» said Lithuania’s Foreign Minister.

Ryanair to fly from Palanga

Ryanair is following into the footsteps of arch-rival Wizz Air and announced it will be offering flights between London and Palanga starting late March.

Foreign Minister and Moldova’s new ambassador discussed cooperation

The Foreign Affairs minister Linas Linkevičius and the newly-appointed Ambassador of Moldova to Lithuania Valeriu Frija discussed on Monday, January 11, the situation in Moldova and topical issues related to bilateral cooperation between Lithuania and Moldova.

Lithuania’s Foreign Minister stressed that reforms in the field of justice, the fight against corruption and the banking sector were necessary in order to restore trust of the people of Moldova in the country’s institutions and in its chosen European path. Linkevičius expressed his belief that Moldova would overcome the ongoing crisis and would form a new government, which would resolutely implement the necessary reforms.

The same day the Moldovan Ambassador presented his letters of credence to the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė.

Social security and labour minister emphasized necessity to ensure social protection

At the Policy Forum on the Future of Work hosted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris on January 14, Lithuanian Minister of Social Security and Labour Algimanta Pabedinskienė stressed that in responding to the changing conditions in the field of labour, the fundamental principles of human rights cannot be forgotten.

«In dealing with the new challenges of the changing world such as unemployment, poverty, population ageing, salary differences and shadow economies, we have to ensure decent work and social protection and encourage labour mobility,» said Pabedinskienė.

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BATL: industry doubts economic justification of electrifying Latvia’s railway network

The project for the electrification of Latvia’s railway network is currently under review by Finance Ministry, Edgars Putra – the ministry’s parliamentary secretary – told Krustpunktā programme of Latvijas Radio on Tuesday, 25 October.

In pictures: France evicts migrants from notorious Jungle tent village

In northern France, near Calais, authorities have commenced transporting migrants away from Jungle, the tent village, where several thousand migrants have been living for years.

Payments of benefits to be stopped for refugees who left Latvia

On Tuesday, 25 October, the Cabinet of Ministers supported the legal draft detailing amendments to the Asylum Law, which were developed to enhance Latvia’s asylum provision system.

Government urged to declassify Citadele Bank’s sale

Saeima’s Public Expenditure and Audit Committee has sent a letter to the Cabinet of Ministers, requesting the latter to lift restricted access status on all information related to the sale of Citadele Bank.

Number of black stork chicks declined significantly this year

The small amount of precipitation has negatively impacted the feeding and nesting of black storks in Latvia, as concluded by the Nature Conservation Agency, which had performed annual monitoring of endangered black storks in cooperation with Latvian State Forests this year.

Estonia not willing to ban fur animal keeping and skinning

Reacting to a call from animal rights activists, Estonian environment and rural affairs ministries have found that there is no reason to prohibit fur farming in the country.

IMF on Estonia: Increase in wages could harm exporter competitiveness

Estonia should take care of rising imbalance of wake increase and lagging productivity to ensure Estonian exporters can be profitable in foreign markets, the International Monetary Fund evaluated.

Study: Gender gap in alcohol consumption smaller as young women drink more

By comparing the drinking habits of four million people born between 1891 and 2001, it has been found in a study that the generations living today have reduced the likelihood of men consuming more alcohol in unhealthy amounts than women.

Criminal process launched in relation to K.Barona Street repairs

Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has launched a criminal process in relation to possible forging on documents in the procurement process associated with the reconstruction of K.Barona Street in Riga.

Sirens to be tested across all of Latvia

On Tuesday, 25 October, the State Fire and Rescue Service will conduct a three-minute test of emergency sirens. The test is scheduled for 15:00. It will help determine the function of the system and identify any technical problems.

Belgium bocks CETA, but EU and Canada remain hopeful over signing

The European Union and Canada have stated they still hope to sign their bilateral free trade deal, after the Belgian federal government clarified that it cannot ensure the backing of three regional bodies for the agreement.

This week to be rich with precipitation and cold in Latvia

The anti-cyclone that dictated weather in Latvia over most of October is gradually moving east. It will be replaced by a small and active cyclone. With that, meteorologists expect often precipitation in Latvia this week.

Experts: Russian warships on their way to Baltic Sea

Movements of warships in the Mediterranean Sea and the North Sea, as well as internet comments show that two Russian nuclear-equipped corvettes are currently on their way to the Baltic Sea, even though official reports suggest the opposite, as concluded by experts of Atlantic Council think tank.

Police launches disciplinary cases in relation to supply of inappropriate vehicles

Multiple disciplinary cases have been launched in relation to the supply of vehicles non-compliant with requirements of State Police. In addition, Internal Security Office has been asked to assess the responsibility of officials responsible for the procurement.

Latvia begins ratifying Paris agreement on climate change mitigation

On Tuesday, 25 October, Latvian Cabinet of Ministers plans to review the legal draft ‘On United National Organization’s Framework Convention on Climate Change’ prepared by the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry.

Belgian Wallonia rejects EU ultimatum over EU-Canada free trade deal

The Belgian region of Wallonia has on October 23 rejected an ultimatum from the EU to quit objecting to the EU-Canada free trade deal in 24 hours.

Estonia increases tax revenue by 6.8%

Estonia’s tax collector has in the first nine months of 2016 received 6,8% more revenue that in the same period in 2015.

Latvia’s population declined by 4,636 this year

In the first nine months of 2016, Latvia’s population decreased by 4,636 persons. This is because the number of deaths exceeded the number of births. In the corresponding period of 2015, population decline constituted 4,751 persons.

PUC: Latvijas Gāze remains obligated to provide third parties with access to gas infrastructure

Considering that the Administrative Regional Court has declined LG’s request for temporary solution, the company remains obligated to provide third parties with access to natural gas transmission infrastructure.

Estonia to combat large-scale imports of alcohol from Latvia

Estonia’s Tax and Customs Department plans to equip all border control checkpoints with surveillance cameras to record car registration numbers to thereby better combat large-scale imports of alcohol from Latvia.

Latvians the most satisfied with wages in Baltic States

Compared with other Baltic States, Latvia has the largest number of employed people who believe they receive adequate pay for their work. 39% of employed people in Latvia believe they are paid adequate wages, as well as 34% in Estonia and 19% in Lithuania.

Farmers-greens announce victory in Lithuanian Seimas election

The Union of Peasants and Greens claimed victory in the Lithuanian Seimas election after the second round of the vote was held on October 23.

Finance minister blocked SRS candidate Nikitins' approval to FCMC

Although the personnel selection process for the approval of the new head of the State Revenue Service has defined a possible candidate, specifically high-rank official of the Bank of Latvia Andris Nikitins, his chances to win are reduced by the decision made by Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola to pick the best candidate among the other candidates.

Week in Lithuania. Lithuania unveils new tourism brand

Lithuania will until 2020 use a new tourism brand to market itself to foreign tourists. The new brand, unveiled by the State Tourism Department on October 19, features the words «Lithuania. Real is beautiful» printed on a pastel mint postage stamp

Economic Diary of Latvia. The richer the people, the better the security

A very interesting matter was voiced in Latvia this week. The matter addresses the link between the overall level of welfare of the country’s residents and the country’s national security.

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