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Friday 28.07.2017 | Name days: Cecīlija, Cilda
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Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian Energy Minister discusses energy imports from U.S.

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Lituanian Minister of Energy Rokas Masiulis

Energy Minister of the Republic of Lithuania, Rokas Masiulis has met Lisa Murkowski, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, on his visit to the United States of America. The meeting focused on export opportunities of energy resources from the U.S. to Europe and Lithuania.

The goal of the Lithuanian Minister‘s visit was to enhance bilateral cooperation between Lithuania and the US in the area of energy, to share experience as regards energy security and implementation of strategic energy projects. On Wednesday, September 30, Masiulis delivered a report at Georgetown University about Lithuania’s leadership in the European Energy Security Policy.

Lithuanian Seimas wants more authority on refugee resettlement

A group of Lithuanian MPs have suggested that parliament should have a say on issues concerning refugee resettlement. Meanwhile the ruling Social Democratic Party has offered a political agreement among the major parties, saying that an issue as sensitive as asylum seekers should not be made the topic for electoral campaigning. Meanwhile a group of five MPs have suggested including into the legislation that any decisions on refugee resettlement in Lithuania need the approval from parliament.

According to the MPs, the issue is of great relevance to national politics and therefore the Seimas of Lithuania should have a say. The opposition, however, is sceptical about such an agreement, saying that the ruling majority should first put together a plan on how to integrate asylum seekers. Lithuania has pledged to accept 1,105 refugees over the coming two years as part of the European Union’s effort to deal with the influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa.

PM‘s advisor slags off Lithuanian president‘s UN appearance

Raimundas Lopata, political scientist and advisor to the Lithuanian PM has slammed the foreign policy of President Dalia Grybauskaitė, saying in an interview published on Friday that her recent speech at the United Nations was« sterile». «The country‘s foreign policy is void of substantial steps, there are no attempts to build partner coalitions in pursuit of national interests,» Lopata said in the interview to the daily Lietuvos Rytas. He added that «Lithuania is no longer seen in international politics as an actor.»

Lithuanian and Finnish cooperation must be bolstered

Lithuania must strengthen cooperation with Finland, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius said when meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland Timo Soini. He was visiting Lithuania, to discuss bilateral political and economic relations, regional cooperation and key issues on European agenda, including migration, the security situation in the region, relationship with Russia, the situation in Ukraine, cooperation in the fields of energy and transport.

Committees of Baltic Assembly to mull GMO regulation in Baltic States

The Baltic Assembly‘s (BA) Economics, Energy and Innovations Committee and Natural Resources and Environment Committee convened on Friday, October 2, in Kaunas to discuss the influence of the Russian embargo and the regulation of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in the Baltic states. Lithuanian Deputy Minister of Agriculture Vilius Martusevičius delivered a report on the implementation of the BA‘s recommendations for agriculture.

Lithuanian parliament tightens instant credit loan issuance

The Seimas has approved amendments to the Law on Consumer Credit which are aimed at regulating the consumer credit market in order to promote responsibility of consumer credit lenders and their clients. Sixty-one MPs voted in support of the amendments, two voted against with six abstentions. However, parliament has to vote a second time to pass the amendments.

The changes will tighten consumer credit advertising regulations. Based on the proposal, it would be prohibited to advertise consumer credit during the events for people younger than 18 years of age or in the advertisements of such events. Information about the activities of consumer credit lender or consumer credit mediator and services proposed will have to be correct, clear and not misleading.

The so-called night credits would be prohibited striving to protect consumers, especially those who abuse concluding consumer credit agreements. As the annual percentage rate of charge for consumer credit was until now at a maximum of 200 percent, it raised doubts whether it meets fair business practice and if such an amount is always fair or is in line with consumer interests. It was proposed to regulate consumer credit prices by establishing a two-stage system. Consumer credit agreement would establish consumer credit interest of up to 75 percent.

Numbers of older people on the rise

Statistics Lithuania has published demographic data on the occasion of the Day of Older Persons. It shows that the number of older people is on the rise in the country. People aged 65 and older constituted 15.8 percent of the Lithuanian population in early 2005. Meanwhile by early 2015 the share has increased to 18.7 percent. This year, 547,100 Lithuanian residents were aged 65 and older. 149,100 or 27.3 percent of them were aged 80 and older. 368 people were older than 100 years of age. Moreover, women aged 65 and older accounted for 66.4 percent of all people of this age group. In addition, there were 2.7 times more women than men aged 80 and older. Based on employment study, 5.7 percent of people aged 65 and older were employed in 2014.

Construction of Vilnius railway bypass finished

A second line of Vilnius Railway Bypass has been constructed and will enable to divert freight trains from the city centre. Railway traffic will become safer as a result and hazardous material pollution risk will be reduced. Kyviškės-Valčiūnai Bypass Project worth over 50 million euro was implemented by Lithuania Railways. It will allow directing freight cargoes from the city. The European Union funded 85 percent of the project while Lithuanian Railways funded 15 percent. In addition to the aforementioned changes, two underground pedestrian crossings, a viaduct and a single-level pedestrian crossing were erected. More than 5 km of sound absorbing walls were built and 200 windows in residential buildings were replaced.

EU offsets Lithuanian haulage service losses in Russia

Exports of transport services to Russia is offset by providing more of these services to the European Union (EU) countries, show the results released by the Bank of Lithuania. According to the report, the most rising exports markets are to Austria, Denmark and France. While the exports of transport services to Russia have fallen by more than 40 percent in the first half of the year, the total volume of transport services‘ export fell by only 1.78 percent, according to the Minister of Transport and Communications, Rimantas Sinkevičius. In the assessment of Lithuania‘s export of transport services to the EU, the largest market is in Germany, with France and Denmark being in the second and third places respectively.

Sweden‘s royal couple to pay visit to Lithuania

At the invitation of Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and his wife Queen Silvia will arrive on an official state visit to Lithuania on October 7-9. Along with the royal couple, Lithuania will be visited by Sweden‘s ministers of foreign affairs, enterprise and innovation, and defence and the Swedish business delegation of representatives of the country’s largest companies.

Lithuanians in Ireland celebrate anniversary of Lithuanian pilot‘s trans-Atlantic flight

Lithuanians flooded the small Irish town of Ballinrobe, in the west of the country, on September 25-27 for the traditional event «We Still Need Wings». The celebrations were meant to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the feat of a Lithuanian pilot who crossed the Atlantic in 1935.

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Bookmakers: the new party has good chances of entering the Saeima

The new liberal party «Par!», whose leaders include former Economy Minister Daniels Pavluts and Saeima deputy Ilze Vinkele will likely pass the 5% barrier in the next Saeima elections, according to Betsafe bookmakers.

Latvia’s retail trade turnover increased 3.1% in June

Compared to June 2016, total retail trade turnover rose by 3.1 % in June 2017. Turnover of retail trade for food products increased by 1.0 % and turnover of non-food products grew by 4.7 %.

Association: alcohol market will decline and people will lose jobs in the industry

The planned introduction of increased excise tax rates within the context of Finance Ministry’s tax reform could cause the alcohol market in Latvia to decline by approximately 7% next year, says CEO of Latvian Alcohol Industry Association Davis Vitols.

Survey: Latvian residents prefer to perform home repairs on their own

According to results of a recent survey, 63% of Latvian respondents have spent this year’s summer season performing home repairs. 59% of respondents always pick summer to perform repairs.

Martins Bondars confident he should «step aside»

Martins Bondars has decided to step down as chairman of Latvian Association of Regions. According him, recent decisions made by members of LAR have not been ones he would personally support.

Unity: electing Sudraba to the committee causes trust in politicians to go down more

Inguna Sudraba’s approval for the oligarch talks parliamentary investigative committee’s board would the equivalent of the parliament deciding not to permit searches in Slesers’ home, Unity members say.

Kalnmeiers still has no time; ‘Send a letter to prosecutor general!’ campaign begins

«Progresīvie» political party has launched a special campaign called «Send a letter to prosecutor general!», in which the party asks Latvian prosecutor general Eriks Kalnmeiers to step down.

End of July and beginning of August promise warm but rainy weather

The last days of July will be largely sunny. Some rain will be present here and there, however. Air temperature will remain within a range of +20° C… +25° C, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Juncker to held stop food discrimination of EU's eastern members

Reacting to criticism from Slovakia, Bulgaria and other European Union member states on differences in food product quality in Eastern Europe, the head of the EU's executive body, Jean-Claude Juncker, has pledged to help end the «totally unacceptable» practice.

Property purchase and rent trends are similar among Baltic States

Currently the proportion of standard apartments in Riga in comparison with new projects is rather significant – while the number of standard apartments in the capital is 3,200, new projects are limited to only 300 buildings, according to information compiled DNB Bank and Ober-Haus on apartment demand in Latvia and Baltics.

Construction costs in Latvia up 0.2%

Compared to May, the level of construction costs in Latvia increased by 0.2 % in June 2017.

Beer brewers: many will lose jobs because of increased excise tax on beer

If the Saeima supports the initiative on increasing excise tax on beer by 50% this Thursday, 27 July, the number of people employed in the beer industry will decrease 30%, which will especially impact residents of Latvia’s regions, according to Latvian Breweries Union.

Helsinki-Riga route to be tested by Tallink

Estonian ferry and cruise company Tallink is testing this week the interest of passengers to take a cruise trip from Helsinki to Riga.

Where is the piece of land Duklavs’ associates wanted 15 million for?

Ir magazine has surveyed several hectares of land on Daugava River’s left bank, specifically within the territory of Riga Freeport, to find the piece of land that was mentioned by Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs during his conversation with other politicians in Ridzene hotel.

Opinion: candidates of the last presidency have all been intellectually weak

One of this summer’s hottest and most discussed piece of news was the proposal to allow residents to elect the country’s president. Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis’ 22 June speech to the parliament, in which he proposed allowing the people to elect the president in 2019, caused even more discussions.

Flat rental fraud increases in Estonia

Police in Estonia have observed a increase in fraud complaints in the area of rental flats as fraudsters typically ask for prepayments and deposits for listed flats they do not own.

Latvian troops to participate in Northern Strike exercises in USA

Throughout 27 July – 14 August, more than 70 troops of Latvian Armed Forces will be taking part in Northern Strike 2017 joint land and air exercises organized by Michigan National Guard in USA.

Delna: if the prime minister chooses to stifle emotions, the president should step up

On Wednesday, 26 July, Delna received a response letter from Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis to Delna’s previous letter, in which the organization requested the dismissal of Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs.

Saeima supports tax reform laws in final reading

Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee has concluded work on tax reform laws, supporting them in the final reading. Part of the proposals on additional benefits and multiple other matters will be put off for a later date.

Latvian Shipping Company sells its office building on Elizabetes Street 1

On Tuesday, 25 July, Latvian Shipping Company signed an agreement on the sale of its current office building. The buyer and the next owner of the house will be the United Arab Emirates, who purchased the six-story building on Elizabetes Street 1 in Riga for the needs of the embassy, as confirmed by the company.

Farmers Saeima: beef industry in Latvia is not sufficiently developed

Farmers Saeima believes Latvia’s beef industry is not sufficiently developed, and existing farms have not sufficiently stabilized – many farms have major debt. Because of that any kind of support for the industry is welcome.

Puce: Latvia should ratify Istanbul Convention without reservations

For Latvia’s Development political party has turned to Welfare Ministry with a request to ratify Istanbul Convention without any corrections as soon as possible, BNN was informed by the party’s representatives.

More than half of Latvian businessmen work on weekend; study shows

Businessmen normally spend eight hours and five minutes on work every day. More than 58% of Latvian businessmen also work on weekends, according to data from the latest Citadele Index study.

Farmers: crop yield this year will be positive thanks to weather

In Zemgale, crop harvest began a week ago. Harvest of winter crops is almost over. Harvests elsewhere in Latvia will commence no sooner than August, farmers say.

Murniece offers UGF to consider replacing Duklavs

«The policy is that, considering Duklavs’ involvement in Ridzene talks, the Union of Greens and Farmers should consider ways of resolving the situation,» says Saeima speaker Inara Murniece.