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Wednesday 18.10.2017 | Name days: Rolanda, Rolands, Ronalds, Erlends

Week in Lithuania. Prosecutors: Liberals could have financed election campaign from illicit sources

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Remigijus Šimašius, the leader of the Lithuanian Liberal Movement

The Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office has said it had notified the Central Electoral Commission (VRK) about operations of the Liberal Movement that could be funded from illegal sources during the 2016 general elections.

«According to the prosecutor’s decision, the pre-trial investigation materials about possible funding of the Liberal Movement’s political campaign for the 2016 Seimas elections from unlawful sources has been handed over to the Central Electoral Commission, which should make decisions within its competences,» the Prosecutor General’s Office said in a press release on Friday, September 22.

Laura Matijošaitytė, chairperson of VRK, said that the commission had not yet received the information, adding that possible actions will only be discussed after studying the data from prosecutors.

The bribery suspicions against the Labour Party and the Liberal Movement may mean the end of the latter political movement, says Gabrielius Landsbergis, the leader of the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats.

«This is yet another political earthquake in our poor Lithuania. I regret to say that 18 months after the start of the scandal, no conclusions have been made, many opportunities were missed to cleanse and present a revamped Liberal party. This did not happen. And I think that unfortunately we have to admit that this is the end of the Liberal Movement,» the conservatives’ leader said.

Meanwhile, Remigijus Šimašius, the leader of the Lithuanian Liberal Movement,says the party disagrees with the accusations and plans on denying them.

«We cooperated with the law-enforcement and will continue to do so, we will not deny the fact, however, we have the right to question the interpretations and will deny them in court. The episodes the party is charged with are easy to deny, and I am convinced we will successfully do this in court,» Šimašius, mayor of Lithuania’s capital Vilnius, said on Facebook, on September 22.

The party was due to hold an extraordinary council meeting in Kaunas to discuss the situation.

Germany’s Visiotex coming to Kaunas

Germany’s technical textiles company Visiotex, which is known for its innovations, is readying to invest in Lithuania’s second-largest city Kaunas, Verslo Žinios business daily said.The investment has not yet been discussed by the German-Baltic Chamber of Commerce or Invest Lithuania governmental investment promotion agency, however, the company’s CEO Friedrich Roell confirmed to the daily the plans of making technical textiles in Lithuania.  Meanwhile, Swedish-capital company ROL Group, which owns Statga company in Lithuania, intends to build a new factory in Siauliai and invest 11.9 million euros. The smart factory should have staff of 10 highly-qualified specialists.

Lithuanian, Latvian ministries agree to establish Balts’ Award

The foreign ministers of Lithuania and Latvia have agreed to establish the Balts’ Award, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said on Friday, September 22. According to the press release, the first Balts’ Award will be symbolically presented in 2018 when both countries celebrate their centenaries.The award will be assigned for the promotion of Lithuanian and Latvian languages, literature and historic research, etc.

Parliament against publishing names of ex-KGB agents

Lithuania’s parliamentarians disagreed to publish names of all former KGB collaborators, including those who had come forward about their KGB past and had received a promise from the state to protect their identity. The bill was supported by 19 lawmakers, 26 were against and 33 abstained. The State Security Department stores the documents of the former KGB collaborators who have admitted their past. A similar proposal was discussed at the parliament in 2015, however, the parliamentarians then decided that data on admitted KGB collaborators should be kept secret for another 75 years. During the period of voluntary admittance, 1,589 persons turned to the Lustration Commission to admit their cooperation with secret Soviet services.

 Trilateral Council okays raising minimum monthly salary

Minimum monthly salary will grow by 20 euros to 400 euros from the beginning of 2018, Lithuania’s Trilateral Council ruled. The final decision is yet to be endorsed by the government. The council also agreed that increase of the salary would be depolitised further and linked with the size of the average salary – it will have to be between 45 and 50 per cent of average monthly salary. Minimum wages will be reviewed once a year.According to the decision, the ration between the minimum salary and the average salary will equal an average of four countries with the highest ratio, however, will have to be between 45 and 50 percent.

Children affected by gender stereotypes

Children in Lithuania still tend to choose learning subjects by traditional gender roles, which determines later disproportionate distribution of men and women on the labour market, shows the latest research by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) presented in Vilnius. Experts say the tendencies cause major economic losses, suggesting that stereotypes should be broken for young children about male and female professions, thus bridging the gap in salaries of men and women.

Ikea investing in furniture production expansion in Lithuania

Ikea Industry Lietuva, a Lithuanian chipboard and furniture manufacturer that is part of Sweden’s furniture group Ikea, is investing in a new furniture factory with plans to double its production capacity and create 20 new jobs. Ikea Industry Lithuania’s chipboard and furniture manufacturing facilities in Kazlų Ruda, in southern Lithuania, employ a total workforce of over 700 people. The company last year manufactured 1.2 million units of furniture and 545,000 cubic meters of chipboard.

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