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Monday 18.06.2018 | Name days: Madis, Alberts
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Week in Lithuania. Lithuania celebrating centennial of statehood

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Honour guards fire their weapons during a flag-raising ceremony next to the Presidential palace during the country’s centenary celebration in Vilnius, Lithuania

Leaders of European countries gathered in Vilnius on Friday, February 16, to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of restored statehood, and festive events were taking place in many cities and towns of Lithuania.

At noon, Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė was joined by the presidents of Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Iceland and Georgia in the congratulatory message to the people Lithuania, as well as Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria and top-ranking officials of the European Union (EU). The event culminated in the sound of bells of churches across Lithuania, with strokes heard at the same time when the Independence Act was signed in Vilnius 100 years ago.

On February 16 of 1918, the Independence Act was signed by 20 members of the Council of Lithuania. A copy of the document was last year discovered in the Berlin diplomatic archive by the Vytautas Magnus University’s professor Liudas Mažylis. The act was lent to Lithuania for five years and is currently on display in Vilnius.

Lithuania finalised its statehood through independence fights with the bolsheviks, Russian volunteer troops and Poland in 1918-1920.

Polish President hails improving ties with Lithuania

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said in Vilnius on Thursday, February 15, that he applauded the improving bilateral relations, at the same time pledging to raise the issues of Lithuania’s Polish community during the visit. Duda said he was grateful to the Poles of Lithuania for being good and loyal citizens of Lithuania, however, added he was aware of the education problems of the Polish community.

«I know that the situation is not like you are not faced with problems. I know there are issues in connection to the teaching of the Polish language, the Polish language during the graduation examinations,» said the Polish leader.

He said the issues would be high on the agenda of the Saturday’s bilateral meeting with Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė.

«I hope that we will try to gradually overcome the problems by matching methods and settlement of matters fuelling disputes or raising doubts. However, I am asking to preserve the peace and do this by way of a good dialogue,» said Duda.

Lithuania’s Polish community includes around 200,000 individuals. Over the past five years, Poland had frozen top-level visits to Vilnius, accusing Lithuania for the condition of the Polish national community.

U.S. President thanks Lithuania for contribution to NATO

The United States President Donald Trump has congratulated Lithuania on the centennial anniversary of restored statehood, thanking the country for its contribution to NATO. In the congratulatory message, the U.S. leader said the United States were «proud of our long friendship with Lithuania and the many years of partnership in addressing challenges to the values we share.»

Lithuania posts EU’s fastest export growth in 2017

Lithuania ranked first among the EU’s 28- member states in terms of export growth in 2017, figures from the EU statistical office Eurostat showed on Thursday, February 15. Lithuania’s exports last year jumped by 17 per cent year-on-year to 26.4 billion euros, the highest growth rate in the bloc. Meanwhile, the country’s imports increased by 17 per cent to 28.8 billion euros year-on-year. Exports rose by 11 per cent to 12.2 billion euros in Latvia and by 7 per cent to 12.8 billion euros in Estonia in 2017 from the year before. Imports were up by 15 per cent to 14.9 billion euros and by 9 per cent to 14.7 billion euros, respectively.

Technical glitches disrupt issuance of ID documents

The issuance of identification documents in Lithuania has been temporarily disrupted by technical problems, the Interior Ministry said on Thursday, February 15. According to the ministry, the centre’s document production machines are more than ten years old. Funds have been allocated for the acquisition of new equipment this year, it said, adding that new machines could be delivered to Lithuania in the second half of the year.

Italy’s judo federation apologises to Lithuania

Italy’s Judo Federation has apologised for a recent incident in which the national anthem of the Soviet-occupied Lithuania was played during a judo tournament, the Lithuanian foreign minister’s spokeswoman said on Thursday, February 15. The national anthem of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, which ceased to exist after Lithuania regained independence in 1990, was played for Lithuanian gold medallist Justina Kmieliauskaitė during the medal ceremony at the Cadet European Judo Cup in Follonica, in western Italy.

Landsbergis in hospital, to miss centennial celebrations

Lithuania’s first post-independence leader Vytautas Landsbergis is in hospital being treated for flue complications and will miss February 16 centenary celebrations, his son Vytautas V. Landsbergis confirmed on Thursday, February 15. He said that his father was in stable condition in Vilnius’ Santaros Clinic.

PM expects tax reform laws to be passed by July

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis expects laws on the continuing tax reform to be passed by the parliament by July and to take effect in early 2019. According to Skvernelis, the reform will include an overhaul of second-pillar pension systems and amendments aimed at reducing the tax burden «both on labour and the overall (tax burden), because we have both to be competitive and to increase people’s income».

High school students have live chat with astronaut

Students at two Vilnius schools- Jonas Basanavičius Gymnasium and Jonas Basanavičius Progymnasium- on Wednesday, February 14, had a live chat with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station. The children had a live question and answer session with US astronaut Joseph Michael Acaba with the help of Vilnius University Radio Club and the Lithuanian Amateur Radio Society. The pre-scheduled live chat with Acaba lasted for around seven minutes.

Military brigade to be affiliated to German division

The Iron Wolf mechanised infantry brigade of the Lithuanian Armed Forces is planned to be affiliated to a German division, the Lithuanian Defence Ministry said on Wednesday, February 14. Lithuanian Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis and his German counterpart, Ursula von der Leyen, signed in Brussels a protocol of intent on the affiliation of the Iron Wolf to a German Army division.

PM urges Seimas to return to same-sex partnership issue

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has urged the parliament to go back to the issue of same-sex partnership. In his words, relationship between people living together needs to be regulated, so that they could formalise their property relations and receive information about their partner without entering into marriage. He spoke at the same time when a picket for LGBT rights was held in Vilnius. Liberal politicians in Lithuania have repeatedly proposed legalisation of civil partnership of same – sex couples, however, the initiatives never reached the adoption stage at the parliament.

Tour organiser Novaturas goes public

Novaturas , Lithuania’s tour organizer operated by Enterprise Investors, the largest private equity firm in Central and Eastern Europe, said this week it plans to offer up to 66 per cent of its existing shares by listing them on the Nasdaq Vilnius stock exchange and the Warsaw stock exchange (WSE). The shares will be sold by the company’s current shareholders, including Central European Tour Operator, which is owned by Enterprise Investors’ private equity fund Polish Enterprise Fund VI, Novaturas said in a press release.

Ref: 020/111.111.111.5664


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  1. Linda says:

    CONGRATULATIONS on 100th anniversary of statehood.
    Elagu igavesti Leedu!

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