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Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian MEP Paksas starting new civic movement

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Lithuania’s impeached former president, MEP Rolandas Paksas is starting a new civic movement, which will likely be named «I Call the Nation», in reference to a popular song by Vytautas Kernagis, based on a poem by Bernardas Brazdžionis.

Paksas says that all people, including members of all political parties, who support the idea «the nation – Lithuania – the state – the national state»  will be welcome in the new movement. Earlier the week, on Wednesday, May 9, government gave its backing to a draft constitutional amendment that would pave the way for Paksas to run both in parliamentary and presidential elections.

The Cabinet also proposed that the Seimas should not continue debates on an alternative amendment that would allow Paksas to run for parliament, but would bar him from being elected as president or holding the post of the speaker of the parliament.

Lithuania reaches Eurovision final

Lithuania’s representatives Ieva Zasimauskaitė on Tuesday, May 8, got into the Eurovision Song Contest’s grand final with her song «When We’re Old» . Zasimauskaitė competed against 18 singers in the first semi-final and got into the final along Austria, Estonia, Cyprus, Israel, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Albania, Finland and Ireland. The 63rd Eurovision Song Contest’s grand final will take place on Saturday.

Baltic, German foreign ministers met in Palanga

The foreign ministers of the three Baltic countries and Germany met in the Lithuanian seaside resort of Palanga on Friday, May 11, and discussed EU and security issues. The topics were discussed at the annual 3+1 meeting include the EU’s future and the bloc’s draft multiannual budget unveiled last week, as well as regional security and NATO issues and the Eastern Partnership. Meetings within the 3+1 framework have been held annually since 1996.

President attended Charlemagne Prize award ceremony

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė on Thursday, May 10, attended the presentation of the International Charlemagne Prize award to French President Emmanuel Macron in the German city of Aaachen. The ceremony was held in the Town Hall of the historic German city Aachen, which was the political centre of Europe over a thousand years ago. The Charlemagne Prize, which became a symbolic invitation to establish peace and unity in the post-war period, honours exceptional work performed in the service of European unity.

Elektrum Lietuva is expanding

Independent power supplier Elektrum Lietuva, part of Latvian energy group Latvenergo, is launching a new business and will help residents and businesses to install solar panels as of May. Elektrum Lietuva CEO Martynas Gina says the company is the first in the market to provide such services. Elektrum Lietuva has been operating in Lithuania since 2008 and has around 7100 clients.

Seimas names 2020 as Year of Lithuanian Jews

The Lithuanian parliament has designated 2020 as the Year of the Vilnius Gaon and the History of the Jews of Lithuania. The Seimas on Thursday, May 10, passed the respective resolution unanimously, with 92 votes in favour. 2020 will mark 300 years since the birth of Rabbi Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, known as the Gaon of Vilna, or Vilnius. In the resolution, the parliament underlines that the Jews have been an integral part of Lithuanian society since the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 14th century and that the Jewish community has made a significant contribution to the development of Lithuania’s statehood, its history, culture and science.

PM’s advisor proposed for justice minister

Elvinas Jankevičius, an advisor to the Lithuanian prime minster, has been proposed to become the country’s next justice minister. Under the Constitution, ministers are appointed and dismissed by the president on the prime minister’s recommendation.

IMF mission starts work in Lithuania

A mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday, May 9, started work in Lithuania, the central bank said. They IMF officials were scheduled to meet with officials from the Bank of Lithuania, the Finance Ministry and other bodies, as well as representatives of the private sector. The team, led by Borja Gracia of the fund’s European Department, will be working in the country until May 21.

Lithuania signs GSP contract with Microsoft Corporation

Lithuania has signed a Government Security Program (GSP) contract with Microsoft Corporation, one of the world’s largest software and hardware manufacturers, the Defence Ministry said on Wednesday, May 9. According to the ministry, the contract will give Lithuanian governmental agencies direct access to the information managed and research conducted by Microsoft on vulnerabilities and cyber threats, as well as major products and specialized program code for the purpose of accreditation.

Government puts off decision on LG reorganisation

The Lithuanian government on Wednesday, May 9, postponed for a week its decision on the proposed reorganization of the state railway company Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LG) after certain critical comments were made. Deputy Transport Minister Ričardas Degutis says that the reorganization model will not change, but certain legal issues are yet to be finalised. The Cabinet was briefed on plans to split LG’s passenger and freight transportation and infrastructure management functions into three separate companies managed by a holding company.

Lithuania has no plans to increase number of conscripts

There are no plans to conscript more people in Lithuania next year, but the number of senior officers might be increased, according to a bill on the army’s principal structure, put before the Seimas of Lithuania. The bill received initial backing from 85 lawmakers on Tuesday, May 8, with only one abstention. It will now go to parliamentary committees for further consideration. Under the bill, the limit numbers of mandatory initial military service servicemen for 2019-2024 will be the same as this year and range from 4190 to 4630. They will include 3800-4000 conscripts. Introducing the bill, National Defence Minister Raimondas Karoblis said there were no plans to introduce mandatory service for young women.

EK deems RTR Planeta’s ban in Lithuania lawful

The European Commission has concluded that the Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania’s decision to ban Russian TV channel RTR Planeta in the country for a year was lawful, proportionate and in line with EU law, the RTCL said on Tuesday, May 8. The Commission believes Lithuania has proved that the Russian channel, under Sweden’s jurisdiction, is being broadcast by the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) and that it was registered under the name Rossiya RTR by the Swedish Broadcasting Authority in 2012.

According to the RTCL, the EC ruling also states that Lithuania has proved that RTR Planeta programs repeatedly contained clear and serious violations of the ban to incite hatred as several countries, including the Baltic states, were threatened with occupation and military assault, and also incited discord and national hatred.


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