Latviski English По-русски
Friday 23.03.2018 | Name days: Mirdza, Žanete, Žanna

Week in Lithuania. NATO secretary general opens NATO Force Integration Units in Vilnius

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUNATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg opened on Thursday, September 3, NATO Force Integration Units (NFIU) in Lithuanian capital Vilnius. Vilnius units and five other NFIUs in Central and Eastern European countries have been set up in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

NATO command centres in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania were officially activated on Tuesday, September 1, and are expected to reach full operational capability by the NATO Summit in Warsaw in 2016. Around 40 officers will serve at each of the NFIU set up by NATO to facilitate rapid deployment of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force and also coordinate international exercises.

Attending the opening of the NFIU in Vilnius, the NATO secretary general said the opening of the command centres is a symbol of NATO solidarity. During the solemn ceremony, Lithuania‘s national flag, flags of NATO, Vilnius City and the NATO Force Integration Unit were hoisted to the tunes of the anthems of Lithuania and NATO. The NFIU in Lithuania will be led by Danish Colonel Jakob Sogard Larsen. Its staff will also include representatives of more than ten NATO countries, including Germany, Canada and Poland. All officers are scheduled to arrive by the end of this year.

Lithuanian welfare minister counts in municipalities’ voluntarism in sharing refugees

Lithuania’s Welfare and Labour Minister Algimanta Pabedinskienė expects that the country’s municipalities will voluntarily share the refugees after their integration period at the Refugees Reception Centre. At a meeting at the ministry on Thursday, September 3, municipal officials agree that hosting foreigners may benefit the regions but first wanted guarantees of assistance in settling the refugees in municipalities. Most of the municipality mayors and officials in attendance wanted to know what the support basket the refugees will bring along. In an effort to ease the burden on Southern European countries, Lithuania has committed to host 255 refugees, mostly Syrian, who are currently in Italy and Greece, in addition to 70 more from Turkey. Furthermore, Lithuanian municipalities are asked to provide accommodation to persons of Lithuanian origin and their families willing to return from eastern Ukraine and Crimea.

Lithuania to present innovative products

Among the innovative products presented by Lithuanians at Vilnius Innovation Forum are mobile Parkinson‘s diagnostics application, virtual tutor platform, space shuttle electronics module, mobile apps that can be used instead of the usual conference equipment and many others. The free exhibition took place on September 3 and 4 at Vilnius conference hall Litexpo. Thereafter the exhibition visitors will have to pay a fee for a chance to have a gimpse at Lithuanian science and technology parks that offer various services to beginning entrepreneurs. The event is organized by the Ministry of Economy of Lithuania and Agency of Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA). Among the speakers are the first LinkedIn employee outside the United States and former head of the company‘s European department Kevin Eyres, Head of Marketing for the Baltic States at Google Regimantas Urbanas, Co-Founder and CEO of Mars One Bas Lansdorp and more than 40 other speakers.

Lithuanian PM: GDP share for defence will depend on economy

Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius says if defence funding continues to be raised at the current rate, Lithuania’s spending on defence will reach the set goal of two percent of GDP earlier than planned. Still, the prime minister notes that actual funding will depend on Lithuania’s economic situation. President Dalia Grybauskaitė stated at the opening ceremony of the NATO Force Integration Unit that Lithuania could allocate two percent of GDP for defence as soon as in 2018 rather than in 2020 as previously agreed.

President: Lithuania must respond to call to help tackle refugee crisis

Lithuania will join in solidarity with other European countries in dealing with the migrant crisis, says President Dalia Grybauskaitė. According to the president, the situation has changed dramatically since this spring and early summer, migration flows have reached critical proportions. This, President Grybauskaitė notes, represents the most intense migration of people in recent times, surpassing even the one seen during World War Two. She says that concerns voiced by Germany and some other countries are understandable and should be viewed in a different light than before. Lithuania has agreed to take in 325 people from the Middle East and North Africa over the course two years. However, Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius has noted that the number is not set in stone, adding that Vilnius is part of the discussion on EU immigration policy. Nor has Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius ruled out the possibility that Lithuania might accept more refugees. The UN estimates that over 300,000 migrants have reached Europe by sea this year alone.

Lithuania appoints ambassador to China

Diplomat Ina Marčiulionytė has been appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Lithuania to China. President Dalia Grybauskaitė signed the decree on Wednesday, September 2. The new ambassador will commence her duties in Beijing on September 21. The Cabinet of Ministers approved Marčiulionytė’s candidacy in late August. In 1999-2003, Marčiulionytė was deputy minister of culture. Later, until 2010, she was Lithuania’s permanent representative to UNESCO. Before being appointed ambassador to China, she was director of the Latin America, Africa, Asia and Pacific Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Vilnius mayor not to abide by Lithuanian Language Commission ruling

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius says English signs will be installed on buses crossing central Vilnius and servicing Vilnius International Airport, despite objections from the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language. The mayor called Commission’s conclusion, saying such signs are unnecessary, «a joke». The commission believes transport information useful for foreign tourists should be made available at bus stops, on information stands, etc, but not on the buses. Municipal company Vilniaus Viešasis Transportas (Vilnius Public Transport) had inquired with the language commission and the State Language Inspectorate on the possibility to install bilingual information signs in public transport to facilitate the use of public transport for foreigners.

AirBaltic adds five new routes from Vilnius

Latvian airline airBaltic has opened five new routes from Vilnius International Airport. Starting on September 1, airBaltic has added Brussels (three flights per week), Stockholm (five flights per week), Helsinki (five flights per week), Paris (three flights per week) and Berlin (three flights per week) to the network of cities served from Vilnius. As reported, Latvian national airline airBaltic turned over 254,179,669 euro and earned 10,668,043 euro in profit last year, according to

Lithuanian Consulate General in Chicago moved to new premises

Lithuanian Consulate General in Chicago has moved to new and larger premises in a prestigious Chicago downtown location. Employing a staff of eight people, the consulate is said to be a larger operation than many embassies that Lithuania operates abroad. The Consulate General in Chicago was established in 1924, the same year the Lithuania Embassy was established in the present building in Washington, DC. Just as in Washington, the Chicago Consulate remained open throughout the Soviet occupation between 1941 and 1990.

Leave a reply

Harmony believes education only in Latvian language is discrimination

Members of Harmony’s Saeima faction have turned to President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis with a request to halt the parliament’s newly approved amendments to the General Education Law and Education Law regarding education only in Latvian language.

Opinion: UFG and For Latvia and Ventspils were in favour of Vejonis congratulating Putin

Latvia’s President Raimonds Vējonis sent his congratulation to the newly-elected President of Russia Vladimir Putin in order to secure political capital for himself during next year’s presidential elections, says Assoc. Prof. Ojārs Skudra from Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Latvia.

Commissioner: Latvia should provide a clear response to situation in its financial sector

The scandal in Latvia’s financial sector has been reported far and wide in the European Union. This is why it is highly important for Latvia to provide a clear reaction to all this, said Vice-President of the European Commission for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Market Union Valdis Dombrovskis.

Don't joke about bombs at Tallinn Airport, they take it seriously

Estonia's largest airport in Tallinn has from early 2017 received 14 threats of the presence of explosives in the air-travel hub, most of which have been discovered to be just jokes said at the wrong place.

Minister: learning in a single education system using state language is only obvious

Education using state language is our way of ensuring sustainable development of our nation, says Latvia’s Education and Science Minister Kārlis Šadurskis.

Estonian banks close foreigner accounts in wake of ABLV closure

In the wake of the closure of ABLV Bank in Latvia and alleged money laundering via the Estonian branch of Danske Bank, lenders in Estonia are closing the accounts of foreigners, but this threatens the country's successful e-Residency programme aimed at attracting foreign investors.

Latvian Saeima conceptually supports limiting the Bank of Latvia governor’s authority

The Saeima has supported amendments to the Law on the Bank of Latvia in the first reading. Amendments provide that the term of the bank’s governor, his deputy and council members will be five years, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

Baltic shareholders agree to keep Baiba Rubesa in charge of RB Rail

RB Rail CEO and board chairperson Baiba Rubesa will keep her post. This was decided by shareholders during the 22 March meeting. «The supervisory council had previously mentioned the CEO’s contribution to the company’s development. Still, we intend to find solutions and continue realizing Rail Baltica project,» said RB Rail Supervisory Council chairperson Riia Sillave.

Syrian rebel groups in eastern Ghouta announce ceasefire

In the besieged eastern Ghouta territory in Syria, which has been under heavy air strikes and artillery fire for about a month, several opposition rebel groups have agreed to ceasefire.

EU member states on Skripal attack: «Highly likely» Russia was responsible

The European Union has stated it would recall its ambassador to Moscow for consultations after heads of member states and their governments agreed it was very likely that Russia was responsible for the attack with a chemical weapon on a Russian-British double agent.

Weather to remain cold in Latvia until Easter; more snowfall expected

Weather in Latvia is expected to become cold again after a brief period of warmth. Air temperature will drop again at the beginning and the middle of next week; some areas may experience frost again, as reported by Latvian State, Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Farmers in Latvia dissatisfied with resolution of electricity-related problems

Two months have passed since farmers in Latvia had received unjustifiably large electricity bills. Countless meetings and discussions have taken place in those two months. Unfortunately, no decisive measures have been undertaken to resolve the problem. Farmers are confused with decision-makers’ incisiveness in a matter important to the national economy, as noted by the Farmers’ Saeima.

Life after 25 May: is this the end for free publication of photo galleries from events?

Many of us like to check out photos from concerts, conferences or sport events on gallery portals and social networks to have a look at guests of those events. However, after 25 May, when General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force, the situation will no longer be the same.

Saeima to establish legal framework for Baltic cooperation in disaster prevention

On Thursday, 22 March, Latvian Saeima supported a legislative draft, ratification of which will help create legal framework with other Baltic States in prevention of disasters, as reported by the parliament’s press-service.

Number of complaints with postal services on a rise in Latvia

Public Utilities Commission has compiled information about complaints submitted by residents in regards to postal services in 2017. The number of complaints has increased alongside opposing views about package terminals – the regulator has received 37 complaints in total.

Output of livestock products in Latvia increased in 2017

Compared to 2016, output of meat grew by 4.6 % and output of milk by 1.4 % in 2017. In 2017, in Latvia 91.2 thousand tonnes of meat were produced, which is 4.0 thousand tonnes or 4.6 % more than in 2016. The most significant increase was observed in the output of poultry (of 11.3 %) and pork (4.7 %).

Turkey's offensive in Syria condemned by NATO ally Germany

Angela Merkel, the head of the German federal government has stated that Turkey’s military offensive in the northern Syrian town of Afrin was unacceptable and she blamed Russia for simply watching, while attacks by Syrian government forces on besieged eastern Ghouta continue.

Finance minister still believes tax reform in Latvia has brought results

«The tax reform has given us the results we had expected, especially in regards to combating envelope wages,» said Latvia’s Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola in an interview to 900 seconds programme of LNT.

Planned hospital reorganisation in Lithuanian regions irks both mayors and patients

If the plan of the Lithuanian Ministry of Health to overhaul treatment services in the provinces does not hit a snag, the rural hospitals will be soon providing only essential care and nursing, the focus will be on out-patient care and treatment will be available only in larger county hospitals.

Ventspils beach high in popularity this week; Lembergs gets spotlight time as well

Ventspils ended up in the spotlight in an unusual way this week: seals washed up on the beach there. Animal Freedom emphasizes that human contact with baby seals would hurt them. Residents are asked to maintain at least 50 m distance from them. However, the suspended Mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs decided to take photos with baby seals and publish them on his Facebook profile.

Ombudsman: problems in nursing homes and social care centres are associated with lack of funding

Problems in nursing homes and social care centres are largely associated with lack of funding, because it is not possible to perform high-quality work using currently available resources. This is the responsibility of ministries and the government, as ombudsman Juris Jansons mentioned in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Estonian music authors receive record royalties for 2017

The organisation, which is tasked by collecting royalties for local and foreign music in Estonia, the Estonian Authors' Society, has received six million euros in royalties in 2017, which is its record level.

Facebook sorry for permitting exploitation of 50 million user data in politics

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologised for the social network failing to ensure enough privacy to its users that allowed for data on about 50 million of its users to abused by a political consultancy firm.

Zhdanok’s replacement to promote non-citizen matter in European Parliament

Miroslavs Mitrofanovs, who has taken Tatyana Zhdanok’s place in the European Parliament, plans to promote the matter of non-citizens in the institution.

Riga City Council committee supports increasing municipalities’ expenditures by 42.38 mln euro

Following an initiative from the Financial Department, the outlook for the municipality’s base budget revenue has been increased by EUR 1.66 million for 2018. The expenditures portion of the budget is planned to be increased by EUR 42.377 million, as reported by Riga City Council.