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Tuesday 19.06.2018 | Name days: Nils, Viktors
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Week in Lithuania. Seimas discusses state recognition to Lithuanian Neopagans

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The Lithuanian parliament has started debates on a proposal to grant state recognition to Romuva, a religious community of the ancient Baltic faith. The proposal on Thursday, May 24, passed the first reading in the Seimas and will now go to parliamentary committees.

The state may recognize a non-traditional religious association as a part of Lithuania’s historical, spiritual and social heritage if it is backed by society and its teachings and rites do not run counter to laws and morality. Such state recognition is granted by the Seimas after the Justice Ministry gives its opinion. The ministry has stated that Romuva as a religious community promoting ethnic culture makes a significant part of Lithuania’s cultural and religious life, noting that it has been the country’s fastest growing religious community lately.

Ruling parties move to lower yes-vote threshold for dual citizenship referendum

The leaders of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU) and its junior government coalition partner, the Lithuanian Social Democratic Labour Party (LSDLP), announced this week they will seek to lower the yes-vote threshold for a dual citizenship referendum.

It is proposed that the same requirement should apply to all binding referendums: a proposal would be deemed as approved if more than half of voters who turned out, but at least one-third of all citizens with the right to vote, voted in favour. The amendments are being submitted by LFGU Chairman Ramūnas Karbauskis, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and LSDLP Chairman Gediminas Kirkilas. Currently, people who left Lithuania after it regained independence in 1990 cannot hold dual citizenship, apart from a few exceptions. That provision can only be amended by referendum.

Agreement between Lithuania and Poland

Gas transmission system operators Amber Grid of Lithuania and Gaz-System of Poland signed on Thursday, May 24, an agreement to invest into Gas Interconnection Poland-Lithuania (GIPL), thus starting the construction stage of the project.

New justice minister intends to start discussions on LGBT rights

New Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevičius intends to initiate discussions on sexual minorities’ rights, although he does not reveal his position on these issues. Liberal politicians in Lithuania have repeatedly tabled proposals to legalize civil partnership of same-sex couples, but these initiatives never reached the adoption stage at the parliament. Those in favour of regulating by law same-sex relationship say that homosexual couples in Lithuania are now discriminated against, because such people have no right to inheritance or automatic access to information about their partner’s health in an emergency, and they cannot represent each other in court proceedings. Lithuania this year scores better in a survey on LGBT rights, but still lags behind many EU member countries.

Ministry: EC probe to help control Gazprom’s behaviour

Lithuanian Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas says that the European Commission’s investigation into Gazprom’s operations in Central and Eastern Europe will help to better control the Russian gas giant’s behaviour in the European gas market. The European Commission took into account a considerable part of Lithuania’s proposals, which turned Gazprom’s earlier-proposed symbolic commitments into instruments that will actually function in the market,” Vaičiūnas said in a press release. According to Vaičiūnas, Lithuania will continue to look for ways of compensating for the losses incurred by Lithuanian gas consumers. PM Saulius Skvernelis does not rule out contesting the European Commission’s decision not to fine Russia’s gas giant Gazprom, saying that the same criteria should apply when deciding on anti-trust infringements.

Lithuanian truck collided with train in Italy

A Lithuanian driver managed to jump out of his truck before a train crashed into it in northern Italy. Two people died and 18 were injured when the train derailed after hitting the Lithuanian-registered truck near Torino. The truck was heading to a warehouse nearby. The Lithuanian company owning the trucks says that the truck was accompanied by three cars and two of these cars had passed through the crossing before the heavy vehicle entered it.

Lithuania to be late for implementation of new EU data protection rules

Lithuania has failed to adopt necessary laws in time for the start of the application of the European Union’s new data protection rules on Friday, May 25. Nevertheless, the European Commission says Lithuania won’t be late very much to start implementing the rules, but it plans to keep an eye on the situation and take action, if necessary. The regulation is applied directly and does not need transferring into national law but countries had to reform their national data protection institutions to get ready for its application.

Intelligence agency turns to prosecutors

The Lithuanian State Security Department (VSD) turned on Wednesday, May 23, to the Prosecutor General’s Office over allegedly unlawful disclosure of intelligence information. The media earlier this month made public a part of the information on businesses’ influence on political processes that the intelligence agency had provided to the country’s top officials and the Seimas Committee on National Security and Defense.

President describes influence probe as selective

President Dalia Grybauskaitė says that the ongoing parliamentary investigation into businesses’ influence on political processes is selective as it does not cover links between the current ruling bloc and businesses. The president also says that the findings of the probe will have no legal consequences and that these findings could be used by the defense in a major political corruption case involving MG Baltic and several political parties.

EU Commission calls on Lithuania to improve tax collection

The European Commission has recommended that Lithuania improve tax collection, the quality of the education system and the tax and benefit system. The Commission released on Wednesday, May 23, its recommendations based on a detailed analysis of the Lithuanian economy and on the country’s national reform and stability programs.

Russia bans entry to Lithuanian PACE rapporteur

Emanuelis Zingeris, a Lithuanian lawmaker appointed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) as a special rapporteur for the Boris Nemtsov murder case, has been banned from entering Russia. The lawmaker said that the Kremlin’s decision derailed his plans to go to Moscow to collect material on the murder of the Russian opposition leader, adding that he will now have to do so remotely.


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Corruption watchdog requests criminal prosecution of Bank of Latvia head

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Riga City Council votes to add Vidzeme market to Riga Central Market’s capital

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airBaltic receives its ninth Bombardier CS300 aircraft

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Employment agency invites employers to apply for new job support programme

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Programme: government continues working on MPC plan’s cancellation

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De Facto: ABLV Bank’s self-liquidation – controlled or not so much?

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Latvia police investigate link between murdered insolvency administrator and missing businessman

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Hundreds of migrants rejected in Italy allowed to leave ships in Spain

Migrants taken on rescue ships in the Mediterranean Sea and turned away by Italy and Malta have arrived in Spain's port of Valencia as three ships arrived in the harbour, including the Aquarius, which rescued the 630 migrants the week before.

Monday expected to be exceptionally hot in Latvia

Cool masses of air will flow into Latvia at the beginning of the week. Wind speed will increase as well. Several rain-cloud zones will pass through the country. Monday is expected to be the hottest day of this week in Latvia, as air temperature will likely reach +23° C… +26° C in most of the country. South-east regions of Latvia may even experience air temperature of +29° C.

Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian Railways joins European train system Interrail

Lithuanian state railway company Lietuvos Geležinkeliai has joined Interrail, a European train system that allows passengers to buy cheaper tickets for train travel across Europe.

Zolitūde tragedy lawyer criticises Latvian laws as favourable to insolvency administrators, not business owners

Outspoken Latvian lawyer, Aldis Gobzems, who defends in civil trials the victims of the Zolitūde supermarket collapse, where 54 people died and dozens suffered injuries, has joined the KPV LV party for the parliamentary election and is pointing to perceived political support to a few successful insolvency administrators.

Eurozone simulation with monthly billions to be quit in 2018

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Human traffickers in Hungary sent to prison for 71 people dead in meat truck

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Lithuanian employers bristle against minimum wage raise to 450 euro

The disparities of the socio-economic development of the regions are very high in Lithuania, so raising the minimum wage from 400 euros now to 450 euros as suggested by the Lithuanian Government would cripple many small and medium-sized business owners in the less prosperous regions and the municipalities, Lithuanian economists caution. The minimum wage was raised in Lithuania by 20 per cent to 400 euros last year.

No-confidence vote on Latvian Justice Minister postponed to June 20

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State budget income up 11% in Latvia this year

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Volkswagen fined billion euros for diesel exhaust scheme

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U.S.: Sanctions against North Korea to remain until complete denuclearisation

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Popular restaurant chain denies alleged tampering with cash registers

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Pigs in first swine fever-hit farm culled

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Bank of Latvia head appeals against decision to remove his access to state secrets

The Bank of Latvia President, Ilmārs Rimšēvičs, who is suspected of accepting a bribe, has appealed to the Prosecutor General, Ēriks Kalnmeiers, against the decision by the Latvian Constitution Protection Bureau to remove his permit to access state secrets.

Charging electric car to cost 15 cents per minute in Latvia

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Bank watchdog allows ABLV Bank to perform voluntary liquidation

Latvian Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) has decided at a board meeting to allow ABLV Bank to start its voluntary liquidation process.

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