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Sunday 22.09.2019 | Name days: Maigurs, Mārica, Māris

Week in Lithuania: 3700-euro pension to Grybauskaite okayed, neopagans denied recognition

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

People participate in a traditional Lithuanian summer solstice in Verkiai Park in Vilnius

Last week, PM Saulius Skvernelis said that coalition expansion talks were drawing to an end, 2008-2010 crisis investigators concluded on the downturn reasons, Russia notified Vilnius it is set to issue free e-visas to Lithuanians to visit Kaliningrad.

President meets with families of border guards killed by Soviets

Lithuania’s outgoing President Dalia Grybauskaitė met on Friday, June 28, with family members of border guards and police officers killed by the Soviets at the Medininkai checkpoint in 1991. The meeting was held in the run-up to the 28th anniversary of the Medininkai massacre on July 31. Members of the Soviet special police unit OMON killed seven Lithuanian border guards and police officers who were on duty at the Medininkai border checkpoint. Customs officer Tomas Šernas, the only survivor, was severely wounded and became disabled.

PM says coalition talks «drawing to a logical close»

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said this week that talks on a mew government coalition are drawing to a «logical close» when it will be clear whether or not an agreement will be signed. Ramūnas Karbauskis, the leader of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU), said earlier on Thursday, June 27, that the LFGU and three other political parties might sign a coalition agreement by the end of the week.

Government approves 3,700 euro monthly pay to Grybauskaitė

The Lithuanian government approved on Wednesday, June 26, a lifetime presidential retirement pay to outgoing President Dalia Grybauskaitė.  She will start receiving a monthly pay of almost 3,700 euros after President-elect Gitanas Nausėda is sworn in on July 12.  The pay will not be the only source of income for the 63-year-old outgoing president. When she turns 66, Grybauskaitė will start getting a European pension, unofficially estimated at over 3,600 euros before taxes, for her work in the European Commission.  Also, Grybauskaite was allocated a state social insurance pension of 685 euros in July 2018. The presidential office says she did not participate in any private pension plan.

Crisis investigators approve final conclusions

The Lithuanian Seimas’ Committee on Budget and Finance, investigating the circumstances of the decade-old economic crisis, have in principle approved its conclusions on Wednesday, June 26. They state that the crisis was sparked by banks, and the central Bank of Lithuania failed to ensure proper supervision. The committee will endorse the final conclusions later, and they will be put before parliament by the end of October. Besides, the committee states, the government had the possibility to receive cheaper loans from international institutions than in 2009-2012 but failed to use the opportunity.

Seimas extends session until Jul 18

The Seimas (Lithuanian parliament) on Thursday, June 27, extended its spring session until July 18 over the inauguration of President-elect Gitanas Nausėda. Deputy Speaker Rima Baškienė confirmed that candidates for prime minister and chief of defence would be considered on July 16-18, and also new ministers will be sworn in. Nausėda will be inaugurated on July 12. Under the Constitution, the government returns powers to a new president.

Minister sees little chance of staying in government

Transport Minister Rokas Masiulis sees little chance of staying in his place once the government returns its powers. The minister met with President-elect Gitanas Nausėda on Thursday, June 27, and said he did not discuss his fate in the government as ministerial candidates depend on coalition agreements and the prime minister. The minister said he heard no reproach from Nausėda and he introduced the president-elect to the ongoing changes, anticorruption achievements in every sector, as well as the progress of the Rail Baltica, Vica Baltica projects, the seaport, airport and road building situation.

Russia to issue free e-visas to Lithuanians to visit Kaliningrad

Moscow has formally notified Vilnius that Lithuanians will be able to travel to Russia’s Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad with a free e-visa starting July 1.Tatyana Novozhilova, head of the Consular Section at Russia’s embassy to Lithuania, confirmed to journalists on Wednesday, June 26, that the new e-visa system for foreigners visiting Kaliningrad will be introduced on July 1, adding that citizens of 53 countries, including all EU member states, will be eligible.

MPs fail to grant state recognition to neopagans

The Seimas (Lithuanian parliament) on Thursday, June 27, lacked votes to grant state recognition to Romuva, an ancient Baltic religious community, after 40 lawmakers voted in favour, 31 were against and 15 abstained. All representatives of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union voted in favour of granting Romuva state recognition, and MPs representing the conservative opposition Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats and the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance voted against or abstained. Following the parliament’s decision, Romuva will be able to ask for state recognition only after ten years.

Several firms fined for cartel agreements

Several Lithuanian companies have been slapped with fines amounting to 978,000 euros in total for cartel agreements in bidding for municipal projects in three northern districts. The Lithuanian Competition Council (LCC) said on Thursday, June 27, it imposed fines of 209,800 euros on Panevėžio Melioracija, of 399,200 euros on Pasvalio Melioracija and Jadrana, which are a single economic entity, and of 368,000 euros on Biržų Ranga. According to LCC, the companies agreed on prices they would ask for road and street repair and reclamation works in 25 public procurement procedures that were organized by the local governments.

Revolut poses no security threat

A special Lithuanian governmental commission gave the same verdict that Revolut’s activities do not run counter to the country’s national interests after completing its third review of the UK-based fintech start-up. The commission that vets transactions by strategic enterprises took the decision on June 25, Valdas Kiveris. Revolut Bank plans to start operating as a specialised bank in Lithuania the second half of 2019.

Finance minister calls for cautiousness in making promises for 2020

Finance Minister Vilius Šapoka said this week that Lithuania must speed up education, health and innovation policy reforms to increase people’s incomes, adding that with economic growth slowing down, the government has to strictly adhere to fiscal discipline and keep public spending under control, but at the same time not to forget to carry out poverty reduction measures.

Finance minister does not intend to get into «excise wars»

Lithuania has no intention of following in the footsteps of Estonia and Latvia by cutting excise taxes on alcoholic drinks, Lithuanian Finance Minister Vilius Šapoka said on Wednesday, June 26. In excise policies, short-term plans must be outweighed by long-term objectives, especially when it comes to products that have an impact on public health, according to the minister. Increased availability and consumption of alcohol costs taxpayers much more in the long run, Šapoka emphasised.

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Week in Lithuania: awards to Jew savers presented, majority in Seimas restored, Foreigner centre criticised

Last week, the top events in Lithuanian politics and business were awards being presented to people, who saved Jews, the restoration of a majority in the legislature and the EBRD bank to pulling out from Lithuania's Šiaulių Bankas.

BNN summary of the week: cut support; concert hall dreams; infection in Sigulda

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Competition Council permits sale of Bauskas Alus shares to CIDO Group

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Rimšēvičs: banks have five billion in Bank of Latvia; country’s economy could benefit

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EU confident new Russia-Ukraine gas deal coming, Ukraine critical

In long-term gas deal talks between Russia and Ukraine about Russian gas transit through Ukraine held in Brussels, the European Union has seen positive signs a new deal could be reached, while Ukraine has expressed readiness stop transit if needed.

Bank of Latvia downgrades GDP growth outlook to 2.5% for 2019

The Bank of Latvia has downgraded GDP growth outlook from 2.9% to 2.5% in 2019 and from 3.1% to 2.6% in 2020, journalists were told by the Bank of Latvia governor Ilmārs Rimšēvičs on 20 September.

August’s producer price level in industry down 0.1% in Latvia

Compared to July, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry dropped by 0.1 % in August 2019. Prices of products sold on the domestic market grew by 0.2 %, but prices of exported products reduced by 0.3 %.

Baltic Restaurants Latvia breached hygiene standards in Sigulda’s kindergartens

Catering service provider Baltic Restaurants Latvia did not follow personal hygiene standards and committed numerous violations for cleanliness and disinfection activities at kindergartens Ieviņa and Saulīte in Sigulda.

Riga Central Market becomes more accessible for disabled people

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Estonia in Atomic Agency’s management to look for small-state solutions

After Estonia’s first election to the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, its priorities in the body have been declared as development of technological solutions suitable for small countries for meeting climate objectives and the safe handling of radioactive waste.

Volume of imported petrol to Latvia down 6.7% in seven months

The volume of imported motor petrol to Latvia has declined 6.7% in the first seven months in 2019 when compared to the same period of 2018. The volume of imported diesel fuel has increased 0.1%.

Estonia criticises plan to link EU migrant relocation with financial penalties

As Italy is calling for the reshaping of the migration policy of the European Union, Estonian Interior Minister has voiced opposition to the plan and vowed not to take part in the first debate of the proposal about the centralised relocation of migrants.

RISEBA rector: when students «disappear» in the labour market and never return

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Ryanair O’Leary’s option to earn EUR 99 million approved by 50.5% shareholders

In Europe’s largest airline Ryanair, shareholders have voted with 50.5% in favour of a new renumeration system for chief executive office Michael O’Leary. In case of very successful operations, it sets forth paying him 99 million euros in five years.

PVD: no more E. coli presence found at kindergartens in Sigulda

Investigation of the cause for E.coli spread in Sigulda has been performed to the maximum extent to prevent more infection cases, said Food and Veterinary Service’s director general Māris Balodis in an interview to Latvijas Radio on Friday, 20 September.

EU-South America trade deal unacceptable to Austria

The draft free trade agreement between the European Union and the largest trade bloc in South America, Mercosur, is set to be blocked by the Austrian government as legislators in Vienna believe it would have endangered rainforests and labour rights.

Weather to remain rainy and windy in Latvia

Cyclone activity will continue dictating weather conditions in Latvia on weekends. This means the sky will become clear only briefly, as reported by Latvian State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Sigulda municipality turns to police over infection cases in kindergartens

Sigulda municipality has turned to State Police to investigate the link between last week’s uncovered intestinal infection cases, including four infection cases involving salmonella bacteria, as confirmed by the municipality.

Latvian Saeima supports tighter mutual cooperation with USA in rights protection

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Candidate: FCMC team should learn to work substantially, not formally

The team of Latvia’s Finance and Capital Market Commission should learn to work substantially, not formally, said the candidate for the post of chief of FCMC and Citadele Bank board member Santa Purgaile at a press –conference on Thursday, 19 September.

Lithuanian analysts on Russia-Belarus unification plan: actions louder than words

The announcement by Belarus and Russia this week of their entering into an economic confederacy by 2022 did not go unnoticed in Vilnius, which is courting the idea of recharging its dusty relations with Minsk. Is it just the Slavic countries’ new attempt to fulfil the endeavour?

Russia holds traditional holy man, who sought to drive out Putin

A Siberian shaman, who was on his way to Moscow, to «banish» Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been detained, Russian police has stated.

Costs for delivery of printed press to be compensated in Latvia

On Thursday, 19 September, Latvia’s Saeima supported in the second and final reading amendments to the Postal Law, which provide delivery of printed press under subscription in 2020 under the same rules and conditions that are in force now.

Saeima says state of emergency in Riga’s waste management sector is justified

Latvia’s Saeima has approved the decision made by the Cabinet of Ministers on declaring a state of emergency in Riga’s waste management sector.

Lithuanian PM’s lymhoma treatment met with solidarity by Health Minister

Lithuanian Health Minister has shaved his head expressing solidarity with Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, who is being treated against cancer.