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Tuesday 23.04.2019 | Name days: Jurģis, Juris, Georgs
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BNN summary of the week: 13th Saeima’s meeting; expensive medicines; continued government formation in Latvia

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUBNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Progress; Announcement; Expectations; Plea; Decision; Saeima.

PROGRESS: first round of talks has made government formation one step closer in Latvia

The first round of talks with potential cooperation partners has made successful government formation one step closer in Latvia, says New Conservative Party’s prime minister candidate Jānis Bordāns.

Politicians told journalists they view the chances of successfully forming the government as 80% to 20%.

Bordāns said the first phase of government formation talks concluded today with all parties eligible to enter the Saeima – KPV LV, Attīstībai/Par!, National Alliance ‘All for Latvia!’ – ‘For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK’ and New Unity.

During the second talk organized by representatives of KPV LV and NCP on 8 November, both sides affirmed intentions to support one another in the formation of Bordāns’ government, said KPV LV politician Aldis Gobzems. He said his political party generally supports NCP’s offered strategy for talks. The politician stressed that his party will consequently support Bordāns as a prospective prime minister candidate.

When asked about posts in the government KPV LV wants to take, Gobzems said his party has multiple requests and candidates. Bordāns has been informed as much. The politician said he will not mention any specific posts, adding that this is the responsibility of the prime minister candidate, so the question should be addressed to Bordāns. KPV LV representative reminded that the state president has publicly announced his prime minister candidate. Gobzems said he is prepared to work in the Cabinet of Ministers alongside Bordāns.

Full article here

ANNOUNCEMENT: medicines to become more expensive because of new European requirements

Due to the adoption of a verification system to check safety of medicines, medicines are expected to become more expensive, said Juris Bundulis, board chairman of Grindeks.

He says adoption of a verification system will require significant investments from medicine producers. With that, price rise for medicines is unavoidable. «We have to consider how this will affect patients, because medicines will most definitely become more expensive. For example, Grindeks has to invest several million euros to implement serialization requirements. Equipment manufacturers are happy – their business will definitely bloom,» said Bundulis.

At the same time, he says counterfeit medicines are not distributed by legal pharmacies, which are subject to the new system. The internet is used to distribute those products. This is why it is important to explain to patients that buying medicines on the internet comes with risk of purchased medicines having a detrimental effect on their health.

On top of that, it is nearly impossible to identify counterfeit medicines distributors on the internet. If patients purchase low-quality medicines in pharmacies, it is clear who suppliers and distributors are. Additionally, they have to compensate damages caused by their medicines. «Legislation and patients’ rights are very clear and guaranteed,» said Bundulis.

Full article here

EXPECTATIONS: New military court in Estonia could improve discipline in army

Ex-commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Johannes Kert has proposed the reintroduction of a separate military court system that judging by the war-related court proceedings in Ukraine would increase military discipline in the Baltic country.

Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports that Kert, currently an MP, has the support to the idea from opposition Reform Party faction, both the Ministry of Justice and the head of the Riigikogu’s National Defence Committee are not in favour.

«In Ukraine the first problem was that the mobilisation [of its forces] was extremely chaotic, and the way the civil courts dealt with deserters and service evaders varied greatly,» Kert was cited as saying to ERR’s Vikerraadio. «Punishments ranged from fines to seven, eight-year prison sentences. The uneven application [of the law] and glacial speed of the courts caused a lot of confusion.»

Full article here

PLEA: a new economic crunch is probable but Lithuania can handle it

There are still no clear reasons to send calls of distress, but media, that one in the Baltics too, is abuzz – pundits say is a new economic downturn might not be far. Yet when it comes to assessing the scope of it, the predictions vary as much as the garden-variety experts.

According to analysts from investment bank JP Morgan, for example, the recession in two years’ time will be less damaging than the 2008 crash, yet U.S. shares could drop by 20 per cent, well below the 54 per cent tumble in the S&P 500 index a decade ago.

With the Baltic financial sector executives’ ears tuned to the more or less gloomier forecasts, Vilius Šapoka, the Lithuanian Minister of Finance, insists that one should be ready for anything, and for recession too, but as much important is «not to talk an illness into the body which is still pretty healthy».

«We always ought to get ready for hard times. In Lithuania, we have learnt good lessons from the 2008 economic meltdown and, for the third consecutive year, we are accumulating financial reserves. This is the first time in our history that we see it happening for three years in a row,» Šapoka said last week. «Equally important is not to talk an illness into yourself,» he added.

Mantas Zalatorius, president of Lithuania’s Association of Banks (LAB), is also confident that Lithuanian banks are very well prepared for any financial shake-ups ahead.

Full article here

DECISION: Corruption watchdog requests criminal prosecution of persons of illegal financing of political parties

Latvia’s Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has asked Prosecutor General’s Office to commence criminal prosecution of Jurmala Mayor Gatis Truksnis and businessman Jūlijs Krūmiņš for illegally financing the Union of Greens and Farmers. Krūmiņš is also accused of illegally financing For Latvia from the Heart.

According to the information from CPCB, Truksnis is asked to be prosecuted not only for illegally financing political parties but also forging and using forged documents.

Krūmiņš is asked to be prosecuted for two crimes associated with illegal financing of political parties.

Based on information reported by CPCB, it is assumed an official of Jurmala City Council had agreed with Krūmiņš on using a third person to illegally finance political parties during municipal elections.

Krūmiņš used his bank account to transfer large sums of money to political parties. Truksnis then informed Krūmiņš that ‘donations’ were not received. Krūmiņš contacted ‘supporters’ and their mediators and Jurmala City Council official, revealing the names of said ‘supporters’ and their associates.

Full article here

SAEIMA: 6 November – 13th Saeima’s first meeting

The 13th Saeima will gather for its first meeting at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, 6 November. Representatives of parties and associations elected to the Saeima had agreed on the meeting’s agenda beforehand, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

In accordance with rules detailed in the Constitution, the first meeting of the newly elected Saeima will be opened by 12th Saeima speaker Ināra Mūrniece. It is planned the President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis will also read a greeting speech to the new parliament.

The first order of business for the new Saeima is electing vote-counters and temporary Mandate, Ethics and Submissions Committee. Members of this committee check election materials and complaints regarding elections, if such were submitted to the Central Election Commission. This committee also prepares reports for the Saeima about approval of deputies’ authority, the parliament explains.

Full article here


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Medicines for people with mental disorders to become more accessible in Latvia

To improve accessibility of medicines for people suffering from psychological and behavioural disorders, Latvia’s government decided to expand the list of diagnoses eligible for state-compensated medicines on Tuesday, 23 April.

Belarus halts exports of low quality oil products to Baltics, other neighbours

Belarusian Oil Company has announced the temporary suspension of light oil products to the Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine explaining that low-quality oil products have been supplied by Russia to Belarusian refineries.

Diena’s «error» with Meroni was not the first – media reported false news in the past

Recently Finance and Economic Crimes Enforcement Prosecutor’s Office has decided to commence a criminal process against Diena newspaper for possibly intentional defamation of Dr. Rudolf Meroni. This, however, is not the first time when Diena is accused of breaching journalistic principles – publishing information without confirming it.

Producer prices in Latvia: increase of 4.1% in March

Compared to March 2018, average level of producer prices in Latvian industry increased by 4.1 % in March 2019. The level of prices of products sold on the domestic market rose by 6.5 % and that of exported products – by 1.9 %.

Saeima deputy confident on the need to dismiss National Mass Media Council

Considering recent development, the National Electronic Mass Media Council should be dismissed, says head of Saeima’s Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee Artuss Kaimiņš.

Estonian President continues to meet with ministerial candidates

As outgoing Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas' is likely to form his second government with the controversial Conservative People's Party of Estonia and the national-conservative Pro Patria, Estonian President is meeting with his ministerial candidates.

Teachers demand from Latvia’s ministry specific amendments to regulations

Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees sent a letter to Latvia’s Education and Science Ministry on Tuesday, 23 April. In it, representatives demand strict guarantees and specific amendments to regulations to ensure increase of wages for teachers in accordance with the schedule.

Catalonia – key issue in Spanish pre-election debate

As Spain nears its early general election on Sunday, April 28, its outgoing Prime Minister faced criticism from his opponents over Catalonia's secession crisis.

Latvian minister orders closure of Deglava Bridge in Riga

Latvia’s Interior Affairs Minister Sandis Ģirģens has ordered State Police to close down Deglava Bridge starting with Thursday, 25 April.

Sri Lanka death toll rises. Authorities had been warned about possible attacks

In Sri Lanka, the number of people killed in attacks on churches and hotels has reached 290 people, while it has been revealed that national authorities had been warned about possible attacks.

Road construction company Binders to attract workers from Ukraine and Belarus

Latvian road construction company SIA Binders experiences a shortage of workers. Because of that, the company plans to attract guest workers from Ukraine and Belarys, says Bindars board chairman Aigars Sēja.

Ukrainian presidential election won by Zelensky on hopes of change

The run-off of the Ukrainian presidential election has been won by comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, who has promised change and better relations with Russia.

Air temperature to reach +23° C in Latvia this week

Dry weather will remain in most of Latvia this week. The sun will shine often and there will be slow eastern and south-eastern wind. However, strong wind is expected to come on Wednesday, 24 April, and precipitation is expected at the end of the week.

Forevers: 615 tonnes of grilled meat was consumed in Latvia last year

615 tonnes of meat products for grilling was sold in Latvia in 2018, according to sales data from meat processing company Forevers.

Every day hens in Latvia produce an egg for every resident

The number of laying hens in Latvia, when compared to 2017, had increased 19.2% in 2018, reaching 3 million, according to data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia. Compared to the previous year, the total number of domestic birds has increased 9.3%, reaching 5.4 million, which is the largest index since 1992.

73% of residents believe they benefit from Latvia’s membership in EU

Approximately 73% of residents believe Latvia benefits from membership in the European Union. Interviewed residents mainly outline job opportunities, economic growth and security, according to the latest data compiled by Eurobarometer.

General government budget deficit in Latvia reached EUR 295.4 million last year

In 2018 general government budget deficit accounted for EUR 295.4 million or 1 % of the Gross Domestic Product and general government consolidated gross debt amounted to EUR 10.6 billion or 35.9 % of the GDP.

Egils Levits optimistic about his chances becoming Latvia’s president

Presidential candidate and European Court of Justice Judge Egils Levits is optimistic about his chances of becoming Latvia’s next president.

Estonia’s government to be formed by standing Prime Minister Jüri Ratas

On Thursday, 17 April, Estonia’s parliament entrusted formation of the country’s government to Centre Party’s chairman and standing Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.

At least 29 die as German tourist bus runs off road in Portugal

At least 29 people were killed and 27 were injured when a German tourist bus ran off the road on Madeira Island in Portugal, as reported by BBC.

EY: businessmen show very positive outlook towards global economy

The latest Ernst&Young EY Global Capital Confidence Barometer reveals a generally optimistic outlook businessmen have around the world – 93% of interviewed company CEOs believe the economic situation in the world is steadily improving. The same opinion was voiced by 73% of interviewed CEOs last year.

Orkla Latvija signs contract for construction of Laima manufacturing plant in Ādaži

On Wednesday, 17 April, Orkla Latvia signed a contract worth EUR 8.9 million with construction company Merks on the construction of a Laima manufacturing plant in Ādaži, BNN was told by Orkla Latvija representative Lineta Mikša.

As police arrive, Peru’s ex-president commits suicide

Ex-president of Peru Alan García committed suicide on Wednesday, 17 April, when police arrived to arrest him for corruption.

Estonia’s president to meet with Putin; the two will discuss Baltic security

On Thursday, 18 April, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will meet with Estonia’s President Kersti Kaljulaid, as reported by Estonian public media ERR.

Europe’s borders to be reinforced – a specialist corps to be formed by 2027

On Wednesday, 17 April, the European Parliament approved a new law to strengthen Europe’s border and coast guard, as reported by EP representative in Latvia Signe Znotiņa-Znota.