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Week in Lithuania. Green light given to Lithuanian meat export to U.S.

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United States’ officials have confirmed to Lithuanian government that Lithuania will receive permits to export meat products across the Atlantic.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture contacted Lithuanian Agriculture Minister Virginija Baltraitienė and informed her that public deliberation over granting export permits, which began last December, was completed in Washington.

Lithuania has become the second country in the European Union after Ireland which was allowed to export beef to the U.S. According to the Agriculture Ministry, the FSIS has yet to approve certificates which were harmonised earlier. Companies that wish to export meat to the U.S. will have to coordinate labelling of goods with the FSIS.

Defence Minister hopes volunteers will fill the barracks in the future

Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas has expressed hope that only volunteer troops will serve in the mandatory military service in the future.

«I hope that the wave will grow, and the young people – both male and female – will tell about their service to their friends, relatives, and it will be easier for others, as today a major obstacle was the experience of the parents of today’s young people, as they possibly did their service in the last years of the Soviet Army…Word of mouth information is the most efficient, and I believe that we will be able to generate the numbers of troops necessary to fill the military units from volunteers without the coercive mechanism – mandatory service,» Olekas told.

On Monday, the first 495 recruits are starting their mandatory initial military service at the Lithuanian Grand Duke Butigeidis Dragoon Battalion in Klaipėda after the country reintroduced the nine-month service.

Consul general appointed in Saint Petersburg

Lithuania appoints Dainius Numgaudis Lithuania’s consul general in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg. He will assume office on Friday, August 28. He previously served as chancellor of the Ministry of Education and Science. Having pedagogical education, Numgaudis worked at the ministry for almost 20 years and was the longest-serving chancellor, the ministry said.

The position of Lithuania’s consul general in Saint Petersburg was vacant since last April when following the Lithuanian State Security Department’s report that Russian secret service agents act under diplomatic cover, Russia recalled its consul general in the Lithuanian western port of Klaipėda, Vladimir Malygin, and Lithuania recalled its consuls in Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg.

Young smuggler shot at Belarusian border

A young man was shot on Thursday, August 27, during Lithuanian border guard’s chase of two vehicles with suspected smugglers near the Lithuanian-Belarusian border. The injured man later died in hospital, the country’s State Border Guard Service said.

President criticizes government over Rail Baltica

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė says the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Government are responsible for the loss of European funding for the Rail Baltica signalling system. Moreover, the inability to prepare attractive funding project for Brussels shows poor communication with the European Commission (EC).

According to the president, Lithuanian Railways, which oversees the implementation of Rail Baltica, will have to prepare by October another project asking the EC for additional funding. In June, the EC allocated 106 million euros for the laying of Rail Baltica track in Lithuania. However, the request to provide more than 75 million euros for the signalling system was not satisfied. Without the adequate signalling system trains will not be able to exceed 160 km/h speed.

Testing of Boxer armoured fighting vehicles begins

Testing of Boxer armoured fighting vehicles (AFV) begins on Thursday, August 27, in Pabradė military training area in Lithuania. German company Krauss-Maffei Wergmann, the manufacturer of Boxer AFVs, has supplied a variant with 30 mm remote controlled automatic cannon.

The manoeuvrability and capabilities of the vehicle will be observed by the leadership of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and experts on weaponry. A total of 10 manufacturers are participating in the tender to supply wheeled armoured fighting vehicles to the Lithuanian military.

Latvia would consider Lithuanian LNG for competitive price

Latvia would purchase gas from the Klaipėda liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal if prices were competitive, the neighbouring country’s economy minister said Thursday, 27 August. «Technically, the infrastructure is here. We have a very important pipeline construction project to be delivered by the end of this year, the Klaipeda-Kiemėnai pipeline, that physically will ensure all the capacities that are necessary towards the Latvia direction,» Dana Reizniece-Ozola told reporters in Klaipėda.

«Now it’s all about the prices, because prices are an important factor. We need not only the stable supplies, we also need supplies at the competitive rate and that’s the issue,» she said. Latvia is expected to liberalize its gas market in line with the requirements of the Third Energy Package by April 2017, making it the last Baltic country to do so. This will likely create a real possibility for Latvian gas consumers to purchase gas from the Klaipėda terminal.

Lithuanians do not expect better economic times soon

The Lithuanian Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) remained negative in Lithuania in August – more people claimed that their household’s financial situation worsened or remained the same, while one in ten predicted unemployment to rise in the next 12 months.

CCI stood at minus 8 in August 2015 and has not changed compared with July. Statistics Lithuania announced that 12 percent of the polled in August said that the financial situation of their household improved in the last 12 months. Meanwhile 38 percent indicated it worsened and 50 percent said it did not change.

Projecting the situation in the next 12 months, 17 percent of people expect the financial state of their household to improve, 16 percent expect it to worsen, while 61 percent do not expect it to change. Furthermore, 36 percent hope to save some money in the next 12 months, whereas 26 percent do not expect to save anything.

Green Garage opens in Vilnius

The first professional maker space in the Baltic States with3D printers, scanners, laser cutters, router machines, cutting-edge computers and an electronics lab has opened in Lithuania. The equipment in the workshop; known as Green Garage, is said to be worth 300,000 euro and is available to everyone who is interested in technology, has ideas or wishes to create something new, Green Garage press office informed.

«You will not find anything in a radius of 500 kilometres from Vilnius. Everybody who visits the space will be able to use the latest technologies and create prototypes from metal, wood or plastics. We believe that this will speed up and strengthen the community of makers, and for some will accelerate the start of their own businesses,» says Alisa Matsanyuk, the founder of Green Garage.

Foreign Minister congratulates Moldova

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius congratulated Moldova on the occasion of its national holiday – Independence Day. Linkevičius stressed that Lithuania remained committed to supporting Moldova on its European path and stood ready to share its own experience with this country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports.

The Republic of Moldova, which was still illegally incorporated into the USSR at that time, was the first to recognise Lithuania’s independence on 31 May 1990.

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