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Friday 06.12.2019 | Name days: Niklāvs, Niks, Nikolajs

Lithuania’s political and economic diary. Lithuania exerts in defense of Russia-detained fishing vessel

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUCharges against captain of fishing vessel detained in Russia

The Lithuanian fishing vessel Jūros Vilkas (Sea Wolf) detained in Russia has been placed under arrest, with administrative charges brought against its captain, Lithuanian diplomats said. Lawyers have requested that the ship be released on a bail.

The decision on bail is said to be announced next week.

«The pre-trial investigation authorities decided today to put the vessel under arrest, administrative charges were brought against the captain. Lawyers have submitted a plea for the ship to be released on a bail. The decision on the bail and its size will be made by court next week,» the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Rasa Jakilaitienė told.

In her words, lawyers of the fisheries company have already arrived in Murmansk, a consul was taking care of the three Lithuanian citizens aboard the ship before their arrival.

Lithuania maintains the fishing vessel Jūros Vilkas (Sea Wolf) was last week unlawfully detained in international waters, while Russia claims the Lithuanian ship was engaged in unlawful fisheries in Russia’s economic zone.

In the crew of 28 people there are three Lithuanian citizens including the captain.

Lithuania’s Agriculture Minister Virginija Baltraitienė earlier on Thursday asked the European Commission to represent the interests of the arrested ship in the case.

«Lithuania seeks to defend the legitimate interests of the fisheries company and citizens by getting help of the European Commission, which represents the European union in the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission,» the minister said in a press release.

Lithuanian parliament votes down conservatives bill on ethnic minorities

Lithuania’s parliament on Thursday voted down the draft of the Ethnic Minority Law, proposed by the conservatives, which, if in effect, would have banned bilingual street and location signs.

In the initial vote, the draft changes to the Law for the Protection of Rights and Freedoms of Persons of Ethnic Minorities and Communities were supported by 40 parliamentarians, eight were against and 43 abstained.

The parliament had earlier given its initial go-ahead to the bill initiated by the then ruling Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania (LLRA) party, but with changes.

The LLRA-proposed bill allowed the use of ethnic minority languages in state agencies and organizations in areas with dense non-Lithuanian speaking populations, along with bilingual signs. However, in the discussion of the draft in July, parliament crossed out the provision on bilingual signs.

Adoption of the law was initially planned in the autumn session, but after the LLRA left the ruling bloc in July, Parliamentary Speaker Loreta Graužinienė said in her presentation of the tasks for the plenary that the bill was not a priority.

Lithuanian Seimas speaker invites Polish counterpart to visit Lithuania

Along with her congratulations to the new Polish Parliament Speaker Radoslaw Sikorski, Lithuanian Seimas Speaker Loreta Graužinienė has invited him to pay a visit to Lithuania on March 11, 2015 and commemorate together the 25th anniversary of the restoration of the Lithuanian state.

Seimas speaker wished Sikorski all the best in his work as the leader of the Sejm of Poland.

Former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Sikorski has been recently appointed as the speaker of the country’s parliament.

Šiauliai cancels suspicious investment deal near NATO Air base

The Russian citizen-led company pledged to build a laboratory for trains running on «string tracks” on the land and invest at least 60 million litas (17.4m euro) into the pursuit. Rail Skyway Systems Ltd, the company, even has made an investment security deposit of 1 million litas, but that just has not been enough to get started working.

Šiauliai City Council on Thursday decided to cancel the controversial agreement on an investment project that would have been carried out near a NATO Air base.

«After the Lithuanian president a week ago put forward legislative amendments providing that investment in strategic economic sectors and in places near strategic facilities may be permitted only after looking into whether activities of the potential investor pose no threat to national security, and after the prime minister received law-enforcement bodies’ findings on Rail Skyway Systems Ltd, it has been decided to cancel the Šiauliai Industrial Park’s investment agreement with Rail Skyway Systems Ltd,» the City Council said in its resolution.

The resolution was adopted with 15 votes in favor, no votes against and six abstentions.

Under the agreement signed earlier this month, Rail Skyway Systems Ltd was to be granted a 99-year lease on a plot of land close to the airport. The company pledged to build a laboratory for trains running on «string tracks” on the land and invest at least 60 million litas (EUR 17.4m) by the end of 2018.

According to data of the Centre of Registers from March, Rail Skyway Systems is owned by Anatoly Yunicky, its CEO, and Nadezhda Kosareva. Both shareholders gave the same address in Moscow as their place of residence.

Lithuanian foreign minister: Ukraine’s compromise on EU agreement is a mistake

The European Union’s decision to give Ukraine more time to fully implement a trade pact to assuage Russian pressure is a potentially dangerous step that leaves the gates open for Moscow to press for major changes to the deal, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius told The Wall Street Journal.

Linkevičius has highlighted what was until now private unease within the bloc over the September 12 compromise. That deal saw the EU give Ukraine until the end of 2015 to implement key parts of the bilateral trade and political pact. In return, Russia agreed not to retaliate against Kiev for ratifying the agreement.

Russia, which has fiercely opposed the EU-Ukraine pact, has since pressed further demands on Brussels and Kiev, including seeking changes to the substance of the accord. The EU has insisted it won’t make any changes to the agreement text, which has already been signed and ratified by the two sides and a number of European capitals.

Linkevičius said Lithuania, which is among the most critical of Russia within the 28-nation bloc, was taken by surprise by the EU decision and learned about it from the press.

«It was I believe tactically and strategically not a very right step, » the minister said.

EU officials have said they offered the compromise to relieve pressure on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who feared Russian trade – and possibly military – retaliation. The deal was struck as the Ukrainian leader was negotiating with Moscow a broader cease fire to quell Kiev’s fight with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Lithuania’s UN delegation calls for focus on human rights in Ukraine

Lithuania’s delegation led by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Neris Germanas participated in the events of the 27th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on 22-24 September. During the visit, particular attention was given to the human rights and humanitarian situation in Ukraine, Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

«Lithuania remains concerned about gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, the growing rate of hatred, discrimination and propaganda in eastern Ukraine. The international community must take all possible measures to hold those responsible for the violations of international law to account,» said Germanas.

Situation in Ukraine and the measures to ensure the recovery and stability of the country’s economy were discussed in the meeting with Nicholas Davis, the Director for Europe at the World Economic Forum (WEF). The deputy minister also suggested the WEF to invite Lithuanian artists to participate in its cultural programmes.


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  1. Linda says:

    Perhaps we should all arrest illegal boats in international waters which stray close to our economic zones. On second thoughts, there would be more Russian ships impounded in foreign harbours not to mention the submarines that break country frontiers and then sink – must be quite a few in Stockholm harbour.

Baltic States and Poland agree to push Rail Baltica as the main transport policy priority

On Friday, 6 December, Baltic and Polish transport ministers agreed during a meeting to continue pushing Rail Baltica as the main transport policy priority in the region, as confirmed by Latvia’s Transport Ministry.

Bank: Latvian residents have become more active with making savings

Following increased economic growth, there has been an improvement with Latvian residents’ financial reserves, according to data compiled by Swedbank. Nearly 17% of them have managed to save up money worth three or more wage amounts (2% more than last year), according to data from Swedbank.

Brexit – one of most spectacular mistakes in EU history, Tusk says

Donald Tusk, the former President of the European Council, has stated that the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union has been a spectacular mistake after a campaign of misinformation.

Environment Protection Minister to request Riga City Council’s dismissal

Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry has decided to request dismissal of Riga City Council because according to the ministry the municipal administration has failed to perform one of its autonomous functions – provide carrying of household waste.

Estonia’s prime minister: Rail Baltica project unlikely to be finished on time

It is unlikely European standard railway width project Rail Baltica will be finished on time – by 2026, admits Estonia’s Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.

Estonia points to human rights violations in occupied parts of Georgia, Ukraine

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu has noted in a meeting of the OSCE that violations of international rights and fundamental rights along with the continued crises in Georgia and Ukraine endanger security in the wider region of OSCE countries.

For the first time since 2003, woman possibly infected with rabies dies in Latvia

A woman that was possibly infected with rabies has died in Daugavpils, as reported by Disease Prevention and Control. This may be the first death caused by rabies in Latvia since 2003.

French pension strike engages 800 000 people

In France, the first day of mass demonstrations and public sector strike has involved over 800 000 in marches in many cities of the country, as protesters seek to force President Emmanuel Macron not to push forward with pension reform.

Interior Affairs Minister wants to use modern technologies to combat contraband

To ensure a more effective way to combat against contraband, Latvia’s Interior Affairs Minister Sandis Ģirģens wants to use modern technologies that would work in parallel to customs officers. He said as much in an interview to LTV programme Rīta Panorāma on Friday, 6 December.

Ušakovs says he wants to run in Riga City Council snap elections

Member of the European Parliament and ex-Mayor of Riga Nils Ušakovs says he is prepared to start in snap elections in Riga if they are organized, as confirmed by Harmony chairman Jānis Urbanovičs.

Germany’s Merkel to visit Auschwitz Holocaust camp for first time

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has headed the German government since 2005, will on Friday, December 6, visit the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.

VID officials will need to have spotless reputation, Saeima decides

From now on, officials of the State Revenue Service will need to have a spotless reputation. This is decided by Saeima’s amendments to the Law on State Revenue Service approved in the final reading on 5 December, as BNN was told by Saeima’s press-service.

Brazil at risk of losing vote in UN General Assembly because of high debts

There are risks that because of failure to pay its debts to the United Nations Organization, Brazil could lose its voting rights in the UN General Assembly, Reuters reports.

Strained Lithuanian budget is desperate for additional sources of revenues

With the adoption of the new year’s budget skidding, two major professional groups – teachers and doctors – have had this week their demand for higher salaries satisfied, thus deepening the holes in the shallowing budget. Where to scoop up money to patch all the gaps and satisfy all the demands? This week, Seimas, Lithuanian legislature, was in a frantic search for additional sources of revenues.

Estonian Police and Border Guard Board official detained on suspicion of embezzlement

Estonian Internal Security Service has detained a senior officer of Police and Border Guard Board at the South Prefecture on suspicion of document forgery and embezzlement of more than EUR 250 000, as reported by Estonian public media ERR.

Saeima supports government’s decision to extend state of emergency in Riga

On Thursday, 5 December, Saeima agreed with the government’s decision to extend the state of emergency with waste management in Riga’s administrative territory until 12 March 2020, as reported by the Saeima’s press-service.

Flu infection rates remain low in Latvia, but infection spread continues nonetheless

A total of 30 clinically confirmed flu infection cases were registered in Latvia’s healthcare institutions. Nevertheless, virus activity remains low in the country, according to the latest monitoring report on influenza and acute upper respiratory tract infections compiled by Disease Prevention and Control Centre.

France braces for intense protests over Macron’s intended pension reform

France shaken by this decade’s biggest protests in which trade unions urge other residents to oppose French President Emmanuel Macron’s intended pension reform, Reuters reports.

Marguerite Fund to sell Conexus shares to Japanese Marubeni fund

Shareholder in Latvian natural gas transmission and storage system operator Conexus Baltic Grid, Marguerite Fund plans to sell its owned 29.06% of Conexus shares to Japanese company Marubeni fund.

Saeima’s majority may move towards Riga City Council’s dismissal

The majority of Latvia’s Saeima may vote towards dismissing Riga City Council, according to unofficial information from LETA. There is also a more reserved position on this, but generally it is admitted that Riga City Council’s dismissal process will be initiated.

National Economy Committee invites reviewing Rail Baltica project’s management structure

«Considering the unstable situation and lasting stagnation with the project’s management, the National Economy Committee invites Transport Ministry to review the structure of RB Rail,» says Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee chairman Jānis Vitenbergs.

«Riga’s residents overpay.» Kleins proposes terminating contract with Rīgas karte

Riga City Council vice-chairman and shareholder in municipal company LLC Rīgas satiksme Druvis Kleins, has ordered the company’s lawyers to assess the option of quickly terminating the contract with LLC Rīgas karte, as confirmed by Kleins, who represents For Riga! bloc in the city council.

Newspaper: Russia plans to deploy a motorized division in Kaliningrad next year

Russia has plans to deploy a motorized division in Kaliningrad Oblast, which shares borders with Poland and Lithuania, as reported by Russian government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Ex-president says conflicts with territorial reform surface where the rich refuse to share

The objective of the territorial reform remains unchanged – forming economically more efficient administrative territories. This means creating counties able to sustain themselves and develop economically. Conflicts with the reform usually surface in areas, where the rich refuse to share. There are also situations when the poor want to receive and do nothing on their own, BNN was told by ex-President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers.

October’s industrial production output in Latvia increases 3%

Compared to October 2018, industrial production output increased by 3 % in October 2019, according to calendar adjusted data at constant prices.

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