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Saturday 24.03.2018 | Name days: Kazimirs, Izidors

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

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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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MEP: operations of certain banks in Latvia ruin the country’s reputation

Money laundering is a problem in Latvia, because the activities performed by certain banks ruin the country’s reputation, said member of the European Parliament Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to Rietumu Radio.

Harmony believes education only in Latvian language is discrimination

Members of Harmony’s Saeima faction have turned to President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis with a request to halt the parliament’s newly approved amendments to the General Education Law and Education Law regarding education only in Latvian language.

Opinion: UFG and For Latvia and Ventspils were in favour of Vejonis congratulating Putin

Latvia’s President Raimonds Vējonis sent his congratulation to the newly-elected President of Russia Vladimir Putin in order to secure political capital for himself during next year’s presidential elections, says Assoc. Prof. Ojārs Skudra from Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Latvia.

Commissioner: Latvia should provide a clear response to situation in its financial sector

The scandal in Latvia’s financial sector has been reported far and wide in the European Union. This is why it is highly important for Latvia to provide a clear reaction to all this, said Vice-President of the European Commission for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Market Union Valdis Dombrovskis.

Don't joke about bombs at Tallinn Airport, they take it seriously

Estonia's largest airport in Tallinn has from early 2017 received 14 threats of the presence of explosives in the air-travel hub, most of which have been discovered to be just jokes said at the wrong place.

Minister: learning in a single education system using state language is only obvious

Education using state language is our way of ensuring sustainable development of our nation, says Latvia’s Education and Science Minister Kārlis Šadurskis.

Estonian banks close foreigner accounts in wake of ABLV closure

In the wake of the closure of ABLV Bank in Latvia and alleged money laundering via the Estonian branch of Danske Bank, lenders in Estonia are closing the accounts of foreigners, but this threatens the country's successful e-Residency programme aimed at attracting foreign investors.

Latvian Saeima conceptually supports limiting the Bank of Latvia governor’s authority

The Saeima has supported amendments to the Law on the Bank of Latvia in the first reading. Amendments provide that the term of the bank’s governor, his deputy and council members will be five years, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

Baltic shareholders agree to keep Baiba Rubesa in charge of RB Rail

RB Rail CEO and board chairperson Baiba Rubesa will keep her post. This was decided by shareholders during the 22 March meeting. «The supervisory council had previously mentioned the CEO’s contribution to the company’s development. Still, we intend to find solutions and continue realizing Rail Baltica project,» said RB Rail Supervisory Council chairperson Riia Sillave.

Syrian rebel groups in eastern Ghouta announce ceasefire

In the besieged eastern Ghouta territory in Syria, which has been under heavy air strikes and artillery fire for about a month, several opposition rebel groups have agreed to ceasefire.

EU member states on Skripal attack: «Highly likely» Russia was responsible

The European Union has stated it would recall its ambassador to Moscow for consultations after heads of member states and their governments agreed it was very likely that Russia was responsible for the attack with a chemical weapon on a Russian-British double agent.

Weather to remain cold in Latvia until Easter; more snowfall expected

Weather in Latvia is expected to become cold again after a brief period of warmth. Air temperature will drop again at the beginning and the middle of next week; some areas may experience frost again, as reported by Latvian State, Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Farmers in Latvia dissatisfied with resolution of electricity-related problems

Two months have passed since farmers in Latvia had received unjustifiably large electricity bills. Countless meetings and discussions have taken place in those two months. Unfortunately, no decisive measures have been undertaken to resolve the problem. Farmers are confused with decision-makers’ incisiveness in a matter important to the national economy, as noted by the Farmers’ Saeima.

Life after 25 May: is this the end for free publication of photo galleries from events?

Many of us like to check out photos from concerts, conferences or sport events on gallery portals and social networks to have a look at guests of those events. However, after 25 May, when General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force, the situation will no longer be the same.

Saeima to establish legal framework for Baltic cooperation in disaster prevention

On Thursday, 22 March, Latvian Saeima supported a legislative draft, ratification of which will help create legal framework with other Baltic States in prevention of disasters, as reported by the parliament’s press-service.

Number of complaints with postal services on a rise in Latvia

Public Utilities Commission has compiled information about complaints submitted by residents in regards to postal services in 2017. The number of complaints has increased alongside opposing views about package terminals – the regulator has received 37 complaints in total.

Output of livestock products in Latvia increased in 2017

Compared to 2016, output of meat grew by 4.6 % and output of milk by 1.4 % in 2017. In 2017, in Latvia 91.2 thousand tonnes of meat were produced, which is 4.0 thousand tonnes or 4.6 % more than in 2016. The most significant increase was observed in the output of poultry (of 11.3 %) and pork (4.7 %).

Turkey's offensive in Syria condemned by NATO ally Germany

Angela Merkel, the head of the German federal government has stated that Turkey’s military offensive in the northern Syrian town of Afrin was unacceptable and she blamed Russia for simply watching, while attacks by Syrian government forces on besieged eastern Ghouta continue.

Finance minister still believes tax reform in Latvia has brought results

«The tax reform has given us the results we had expected, especially in regards to combating envelope wages,» said Latvia’s Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola in an interview to 900 seconds programme of LNT.

Planned hospital reorganisation in Lithuanian regions irks both mayors and patients

If the plan of the Lithuanian Ministry of Health to overhaul treatment services in the provinces does not hit a snag, the rural hospitals will be soon providing only essential care and nursing, the focus will be on out-patient care and treatment will be available only in larger county hospitals.

Ventspils beach high in popularity this week; Lembergs gets spotlight time as well

Ventspils ended up in the spotlight in an unusual way this week: seals washed up on the beach there. Animal Freedom emphasizes that human contact with baby seals would hurt them. Residents are asked to maintain at least 50 m distance from them. However, the suspended Mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs decided to take photos with baby seals and publish them on his Facebook profile.

Ombudsman: problems in nursing homes and social care centres are associated with lack of funding

Problems in nursing homes and social care centres are largely associated with lack of funding, because it is not possible to perform high-quality work using currently available resources. This is the responsibility of ministries and the government, as ombudsman Juris Jansons mentioned in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Estonian music authors receive record royalties for 2017

The organisation, which is tasked by collecting royalties for local and foreign music in Estonia, the Estonian Authors' Society, has received six million euros in royalties in 2017, which is its record level.

Facebook sorry for permitting exploitation of 50 million user data in politics

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologised for the social network failing to ensure enough privacy to its users that allowed for data on about 50 million of its users to abused by a political consultancy firm.

Zhdanok’s replacement to promote non-citizen matter in European Parliament

Miroslavs Mitrofanovs, who has taken Tatyana Zhdanok’s place in the European Parliament, plans to promote the matter of non-citizens in the institution.

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