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Week in Lithuania. Baltic PMs meet in Palanga

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

The Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian prime ministers held an informal meeting in the Lithuanian Baltic resort of Palanga over the weekend, August 21-23. The meeting of Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma and Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas took place from Friday until Sunday.

During discussions, officials focused on energy, transport, defence and other issues.

Baltic prime ministers meet annually in one of the three Baltic countries in late summer and discuss key political, economic, energy and cooperation issues as well as joint projects.

Lithuanian president warns about propaganda threats

Speaking at an opening of a NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence in Latvia on Thursday, August 20, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė warned about the threats of propaganda. In her words, the propaganda is aimed at people’s way of thinking, thus threatening social cohesion and leading to military confrontation. «The opening of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre confirms our concern and deep understanding of information security and propaganda threats,» said Grybauskaitė. The inauguration shows NATO’s ability to respond to the challenge and its readiness to counter it, she said.

Seimas Speaker urges NB8 to promote faster ratification of treaties with Ukraine

Lithuanian Parliament Speaker Loreta Graužinienė has urged her colleagues at the Nordic-Baltic (NB8) meeting in Stockholm to take more responsibility in urging European Union (EU) countries, particularly Greece, Cyprus and the Czech Republic, to ratify EU-Ukraine association and free trade agreements. After visiting Ukraine last week, the Lithuanian speaker also briefed the participants of the Stockholm meeting on the changes in Ukraine in countering corruption, progress in the aspiration for visa-free travels and other reforms, the parliament’s Public Relations Division said.

Lithuania disallows entering forests amid fire hazard

At least 25 of Lithuania’s 60 municipalities have restricted entry into forests amid fire hazard, the Environment Ministry said on Thursday, August 20. Environment Vice-Minister Linas Jonauskas stated that the highest fire hazard has been reported in forests in central Lithuania. «One of our biggest assets – our green forests – have now turned into a powder keg, and any reckless action may cause a major disaster,» the vice-minister said in a press release. According to the press release, an alarming aspect is the high fire hazard in forests in the Curonian Spit, which are extremely hazardous and difficult to put out.

Lithuanian president in Latvia

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė told while visiting Latvia that the two Baltic nations must join their efforts in seeking to shore up their defence. During their meeting in Riga, Grybauskaitė and Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis discussed preparations for the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw. «As the geopolitical situation continues to change rapidly, we must seek defence strengthening together. Therefore, we will evaluate in Warsaw which Wales agreements have been implemented and where better results are needed,» the Lithuanian president was quoted as saying in a statement issued by her press service.

Lithuanian head of Barclays Technology Centre among top 20 businesswomen

Business magazine Nordic Business Report has named Milda Dargužaitė, the head of Barclays Technology Centre Lithuania, among top 20 women in business in Northern Europe. The list of leading businesswomen in Northern Europe has been compiled by an international panel selected by Nordic Business Report magazine. Businesswomen from nine countries of the region – Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia – have been included in the top 20 list. Their personal achievements, impact on business and society, originality and practicality of ideas, as well as future business vision were evaluated.

NATO secretary general to visit Lithuania

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will attend the opening of a NATO headquarters in Vilnius, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė has announced. Besides Lithuania, NATO Force Integration Units will be also set up in Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, with around 40 officers in each of the FIU. «We are looking forward to the NATO head’s visit to Lithuania for the opening of the NATO command centre,»  Grybauskaitė told on Thursday, August 20. The Vilnius FIU will be officially inaugurated on September 3 and will be led by Danish Colonel Jacob Larsen. NATO command centres in Eastern Europe are being established in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Lithuania considers labelling food products with GMOs

Lithuanian government has supported the proposal of the Ministry of Justice that labels should indicate if food products sold in Lithuania contain genetically modified organisms. The government considered amendments to the Law on Genetically Modified Organisms that were prepared by MP Kęstutis Daukšys. Based on the amendments, food products containing GMOs would be labelled to warn consumers about unknown and unexamined impact of GMOs on human health. The amendments will be considered by parliament.

Government supports dual citizenship plebiscite, but suggests different wording

Lithuanian Government has backed an initiative by a group of lawmakers to call a referendum on dual citizenship alongside general elections next year. But the Cabinet also suggests a different formulation for the question to be put for the vote. The Seimas of Lithuania has already begun deliberating a proposal by the opposition Liberal Movement to remove the constitutional provision stating that «with the exception of individual cases provided for by law, no one may be a citizen of both the Republic of Lithuania and another state at the same time.» Explaining this provision, the Constitution Court of Lithuania has said that it forbids persons who left Lithuania after 1990 and acquired citizenship of foreign countries to retain Lithuanian citizenship.

Lithuania to raise tax on amber

The Lithuanian government has approved a rise in taxes on amber excavation as the country prepares to launch a tender for the exploration and extraction of its amber resources. The Cabinet endorsed amendments to the Law on Tax on State Natural Resources on Wednesday, August 19. It was said during the meeting that the higher tax would amount to around 20 percent of the market value of amber. The tax rate in the EU ranges between 15 and 25 percent. The proposal is to increase the tax rate on extracted amber from 20.2 euros to 280 euros per kilogram of amber pieces of up to 40 millimetres and 900 euros per kilogram of pieces of over 40 millimetres. The Environment Ministry says that when the new tax rates are approved, estimated 41 million euros in total revenues could be raised from the tax on amber extracted from the Juodkrantė deposit.

Lithuanian PM to visit Ukraine

Lithuania’s Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius will pay a visit to Ukraine in the end of August. «The prime minister’s visit to Ukraine is scheduled for August 27-28,»  his spokeswoman Evelina Butkutė-Lazdauskienė told BNS, a Lithuanian news agency. Butkevičius’ agenda includes a meeting with his Ukrainian colleague Arseny Yatseniuk, with a time for a meeting with President Petro Poroshenko and members of the Verhovna Rada still being coordinated. During the visit, the prime minister will attend opening of the Lithuanian honorary consulate in Kyiv and a meeting of the Ukrainian-Lithuanian business council.

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