Lithuania’s Finance Minister Rimantas Šadžius says that 2015 was a breakthrough in tax collection for Lithuania and that extra revenue is projected for 2016.
He noted that, in the 2016 budget, a certain principle of responsible budget revenue planning was used probably for the first time in the history of Lithuania. The only tax revenue included in the budget project was that which was based on macroeconomic calculations. In addition, the State Tax Inspectorate (VMI) will be instructed to further improve tax collection, the minister said.
Nearly a thousand servicemen will serve in NATO and EU rapid response forces in 2016
On January 1, 2016, about 700 Lithuanian soldiers with infantry equipment and vehicles began to stand by for the NATO and EU rapid response forces. Units and soldiers of the Lithuanian Land Force, Lithuanian Special Operations Forces, Logistics Command, Deployable Communications and Information Systems Module, Military Police, and Military Medical Services will be on standby for different components of the NATO Response Force (NRF) in 2016.
Party charged with influence peddling and money laundering
Lithuania’s Special Investigation Service’s (STT) Vilnius Department has brought charges against the Order and Justice political party over suspicions of influence peddling and money laundering. The pre-trial investigation was launched in 2014 following suspicions that private business companies could have covered part of 42,000 euro cost of the Order and Justice party-supported Pirk Dramblį event. The aim of this arrangement was for the party to influence officials from the Ministry of the Interior so that they would act in the favour of certain interested businesses during public procurement procedures.
Unvaccinated children will be barred from kindergarten
After the Seimas failed to adopt legislation authorizing mandatory vaccinations, an order made by former Minister of Health Vytenis Andriukaitis instructing not to accept unvaccinated children to kindergarten establishments has taken effect on January 1, 2016. Minister of Health Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė says that the order will only apply to newly accepted children.
Lithuanian export downturn predicted
In the upcoming months, Lithuania’s producers and exporters predict a decrease in Lithuanian industrial exports. According to a poll distributed to the heads of industrial companies by Statistics Lithuania, 14 percent of businesses predict a decrease while 17 percent predict an increase (a month ago, these percentages were 12 and 31 percent, respectively). The Lithuanian export economy suffered throughout 2015 due to Russian embargoes and that country’s economic downturn, so many exporters have struggled to reorient their businesses towards other markets, like Scandinavia and the Eurozone. 22 percent of those surveyed said they expected to increase production over the coming months, while 19 percent expected to decrease production.
Global recognition for Kaunas orchestra’s recording of Verdi opera
A studio album of Giuseppe Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra opera that was recorded by the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra received international recognition when it was named the Editor’s Choice opera album by the influential Opera News magazine in New York, the Kaunas City Municipality reports. The two-disk album also features the Kaunas State Choir and Kostas Smoriginas, among other national and international artists.
New motorized infantry brigade will be formed
Starting from January 1, 2016, a new motorized infantry brigade named Žemaitija will be formed in Western Lithuania. The announcement of the formation of the new brigade comes on the heels of a number of new military materiel acquisitions made by Lithuanian government in response to geopolitical tensions and the situation in Ukraine. These have included U.S-made Javelin anti-tank missiles and German-made Boxer armored combat vehicles.
Labour party will not ask Seimas chairwoman to step down
With less than a year left until the Seimas (parliament) elections, the Labour Party is not planning to ask Loreta Graužinienė to leave the Seimas speaker‘s position. However, not only the opposition, but some MPs from the ruling coalition are dissatisfied with the politician. When leaving at the end of December the Labour Party, Viktoras Uspaskichas, the party’s founder and honorary chairman hinted that the party should consider delegating another member of the Labour party to the parliament speaker‘s position. The Labour Party’s new leader, Valentinas Mazuronis, is convinced that there is no need to change anything so far.
New prosecutor general promises changes to office
In the first press conference organized by the new Prosecutor General Evaldas Pašilis since he was sworn in two days ago, he promised changes in the Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutor general said that the institution should be more transparent and that the rights and freedoms of simple ordinary people would be respected. Similarly, according to him, prosecutors should feel safe, dignified, and should be able to do their daily work.
Lithuanian innovators and leaders honoured by President
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė has hosted a ceremony honouring the Global Lithuanian Awards. The annual awards are presented to individuals who, in one way or another, have contributed to Lithuania’s welfare domestically or abroad. The President and Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius praised the initiative and made it a point that a country is more than its geographical and demographic size. Most of the nominees had been studying, working or living abroad, spreading a very positive image of the country through their actions.
Lithuanian GDP growth may outpace Estonia’s in 2016
Lithuanian economic growth in 2015 was the slowest among the Baltic countries, but analysts at Danske Bank predict that the country’s gross domestic product growth next year will be faster than in Estonia and, in 2017, will bypass Latvia as well. According to Rokas Grajauskas, Danske Bank’s Baltic analyst, the Baltic countries are still feeling the influence of the Russian embargo and the overall economic slowdown in Russia. This year, Lithuania’s economy grew the slowest because, among all of the Baltic countries, it was the most economically dependent on Russia. The situation should improve next year, however.
Lithuanian energy experts blast plans to shutter thermal power plants
Nearly 60 respeced Lithuanian power engineers, scientists, former energy and economy ministers and heads of business associations encouraged the government to take decisive actions in order to save thermal power plants as reserve electric power sources. The government adopted a resolution on October 7 that will effectively leave the thermal power plants unused.