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Monday 24.02.2020 | Name days: Diāna, Dina, Dins

Week in Lithuania: ambassador cleared of wrongdoing, Poland thumbs down Grybauskaitė for EU post

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

Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite

Last week, Foreign minister Linkevičius exhorted the Seimas to set up two election constituencies for expatriates, Justice minister Jankevičius complained to EU ministers over Russia, idea of annuities for ex-MPs was backed by PM Skvernelis but disapproved by the ruling LFGU leader Karbauskis.

POLITICS: Minister calls for constituencies for expats

Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius has called on the Seimas to set up two separate parliamentary election constituencies for Lithuanians living abroad. The minister noted that expatriate voters were three times as active in this year’s presidential election as in the 2016 Seimas election. Under the existing law, Lithuanian expatriates’ votes in a parliamentary election are added to the count at the Naujamiestis constituency in Vilnius. Some 52,812 Lithuanian citizens cast their ballots abroad in the first round of May’s presidential election and 44,142 in the runoff, compared with just over 16,400 in the 2016 Seimas election. Previous similar attempts failed.

Minister complains to EU ministers over Russia’s actions

Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevičius has raised the issue of Russia’s actions against Lithuanian judges, who heard the high-profile January 13 case, at the EU level. On Thursday June 6, Jankevičius attended a meeting of EU justice and home affairs ministers in Luxembourg, the Justice Ministry said. In April, the Russian Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against four Lithuanian judges who a month earlier convicted former Soviet Defence Minister Dmitry Yazov and former Soviet Army members in the January 13, 1991 case.

Opposition SDPL, president-elect discuss early election possibility

Representatives of the opposition Social Democratic Party of Lithuania and the country’s President-elect Gitanas Nausėda on Thursday, June 6, discussed the possibility to hold early general elections. Following the meeting, SDPL leader Gintautas Paluckas said early Seimas elections would be possible if Nausėda wanted that and the incumbent government was not able to function normally.

Once expelled MP rejoins Conservatives

Mantas Adomėnas, an MP who was expelled from the opposition Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats a year ago, this week rejoined the conservative party’s group in the parliament. The lawmaker left the Homeland Union’s group in the summer of 2018 after he was expelled from the party over his links to MG Baltic, one of the country’s biggest business groups.

EXONERATION: Ambassador Motuzas returning to Moscow

Lithuania’s ambassador to Russia, Remigijus Motuzas, is returning to Moscow next week, two months after he was recalled for consultations, the Lithuanian Foreign Minister said on Wednesday, June 5. The ministry said it has completed an internal investigation that cleared the ambassador of official misconduct suspicions. The ambassador was recalled from Moscow for consultations in early April due to his vulnerability and due to threats to the Lithuanian embassy staff following a Vilnius court’s ruling in a mass trial related to the January 1991 crackdown on the country’s independence movement.

INITIATIVE: PM backs idea of annuities for ex-MPs

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says he supports the idea of introducing annuities for parliamentarians who are not re-elected for a new term.  According to the prime minister, annuities would also help make the work of the Seimas more transparent. Skvernelis denies that the Social Democratic Labour Party (LSDLP) raises the issue of annuities for ex-MPs in the ruling coalition talks. Ramūnas Karbauskis, the leader of the Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU), the biggest party in the Seimas, said last week he did not support the idea.

NEIGHBOURS: PM met his Estonian counterpart

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis met with his visiting Estonian counterpart Juri Ratas on Thursday, June 6, and said he could not say yet if Lithuania would join a common gas market with other regional countries. The countries signed an agreement on the introduction of a common gas tariff zone as of 2020, which is an important step to implement plans in time to create a common market by 2022.

Poland doesn’t back Grybauskaitė for EU position

Poland does not support outgoing Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite as a candidate for the position of president of the European Council, Poland’s Rzeczpospolita daily claimed this week. It states that the so-called Visegrad Group allegedly told incumbent European Council President Donald Tusk they do not back Grybauskaitė. Another unnamed official said Grybauskaite is an individualist who is not inspiring enthusiasm among her colleagues but they might be ready to accept her as a regional candidate. EU leaders will hold negotiations on top positions on June 20-21.

DIPLOMACY: Lithuania opens embassy in Croatia

Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius, currently in Croatia, on Thursday, June 6, officially opened Lithuania’s Embassy in Zagreb. The embassy opening was attended by members of the Croatian government and parliament, public figures and members of the local Lithuanian community. Lithuania’s diplomatic representation will be situated in one of Zagreb’s high-rise buildings.

HISTORY: Soviet crimes against Crimean Tatars was genocide

The Lithuanian parliamentary voted on Thursday, June 6, to recognize Soviet crimes against Crimean Tartars as genocide. The resolution was passed by 77 votes in favour, none against and one abstention.

BUSINESS: German company Saferoad Baltic set up

A German-capital road infrastructure company, Saferoad Baltic, has been established in Lithuania. Saferoad Baltic was established Wednesday, on June 5, and is led by Marcin Baginski, according to the Lithuanian Center of Registers. Its authorized capital amounts to 500,000 euros. Saferoad Baltic’s sole shareholder is the company’s Polish branch Saferoad RRS Polska. According to Saferoad’s website, the company provides safe transport infrastructure solutions.

Jusius steps down as head of Klaipėdos Nafta

Mindaugas Jusius has stepped down as general manager of Lithuania’s state-run oil and LNG terminal operator Klaipėda Nafta (Klaipeda Oil). On Thursday, June 6, Jusius presented the company’s board with resignation notice, due on July 26, the company announced via the Nasdaq Vilnius Stock Exchange. The company says Jusius is leaving for personal reasons.

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  1. Justs says:

    Good, maybe they’ll teach the Balts how to build a road. Latvia’s roads are an embarrassment to all of Europe.

Authorities concerned about Rimi and Maxima bread return practices

Following multiple uncovered problems with bread supply practices in retain trade, Latvia’s Competition Council has asked the largest market participants LLC Rimi Latvija and LLC Maxima Latvija to improve internal control processes, as reported by CC communication specialist Zane Gorškova.

EC not planning EU border closure over coronavirus outbreak in Italy

In the Schengen area and EU member state Italy, the dangerous coronavirus has been diagnosed to over 200 people, yet the closure of national boarders is not planned in Brussels, DW reports.

Employment among Latvian population reportedly at 65% in 2019

A total of 910 thousand people or 65 % of the population of Latvia aged 15–74 were employed in 2019. Compared to 2018, employment rate grew by 0.5 percentage points and number of employed persons by 0.6 thousand.

On 102th Independence Day, Estonians urged not to take freedom as granted

Estonia has turned 102. An independed state of Estonia was declared on February 24, 1918. «Freedom and independence are not to be taken for granted,» said Henn Põlluaas, the Estonian parliamentary speaker in an address, ERR reports.

Latvia’s unemployment level reportedly at 6.3% in 2019

61.3 thousand people aged 15–74 were unemployed in 2019. Compared to 2018, number of unemployed persons dropped by 11.5 thousand or 15.8 %.

Danish court officially decides to extradite Kristīne Misāne to Latvia

The Danish court has officially decided to have Latvian citizen Kristīne Misāne extradited to her home country, as confirmed by Misāne’s lawyer in Denmark Henrik Stagetorn.

Secret minutes reveal how Latvia prepared for Moneyval exam

Ministers of Latvian government, Financial Intelligence Service and the management of Finance Capital and Market Commission had likely gathered for a Finance Sector’s Development Council meeting prior to a plenary meeting of Moneyval, which was the first of the test towards Latvia avoiding getting greylisted for insufficient prevention of money laundering, as can be concluded from the restricted access document the details of which are revealed by LTV programme De Facto.

Lithuania’s Klaipėda spends 461 000 and learns it shouldn’t introduce trams

The Lithuanian port city of Klaipėda has spent a lot on a feasibility study into the development of public transport. The 461 000-euro study found that tram or a subway transit network would not be a substantiated choice of Lithuania’s third largest city, LRT reports.

Canary Islands hit by sand storm from Sahara; stops aviation

The Spanish Canary Islands have been hit by a sand storm from the Sahara Desert. Flights were cancelled and later resumed for the most part, BBC reports.

Latvia’s president promulgates Law on Dissolution of Riga City Council

On Monday, 24 February, Latvia’s President Egils Levits promulgated Saeima’s approved Law on Dissolution of Riga City Council.

S&P Global Rating upgrades Latvia’s credit rating to historically highest level

International credit rating agency S&P Global Rating has upgraded Latvia’s credit rating from A to A+ with stable future outlook, as mentioned in the agency’s published announcement.

Merkel’s Christian Democrats get bitter result in Hamburg election

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union has received the poorest result in the federal state elections of Hamburg, according to British broadcaster BBC.

Reins over New Conservative Party once again handed over to Jānis Bordāns

Latvia’s Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns will be in charge of the New Conservative Party.

Italy hit by lethal coronavirus cases puts 11 towns on lockdown

In Italy, where three people infected with the coronavirus have died, a lockdown has been imposed on 11 towns to limit the spread of the dangerous virus infection, The Guardian reports.

Cold snap expected in Latvia in night hours this week

This week daytime air temperature in Latvia will not exceed +5° C. At night, however, air temperature will drop below 0° C, as reported by Latvian State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Week in Lithuania: President proposes legislative initiatives, Tesla on lookout, Klaipėda Port faces fine

In Lithuania, the top news stories of the past week were President Gitanas Nausėda proposing nine legislative initiatives, US electric car maker Tesla considering a network of charging stations and Klaipėda Port facing a fine for allegedly discharging wastewater containing mercury.

BNN summary of the week: zoo without Līdaka. Misāne back in Latvia. Grey list avoided

The week continued with uncertainty over the situation with Latvian citizen Kristīne Misāne in Denmark. While the people were mobilizing and gathering signatures at website, Latvia’s Office of the Prosecutor General issued a European arrest order to have Misāne extradited to Latvia.

Financial Action Task Force decides to not add Latvia to its «grey list»

The world’s central anti-money laundering organization Financial Action Task Force has decided to not exercise increased monitoring of Latvia. This means the country will not be added to the organization’s «grey list», as LETA was informed by Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš’s office.

Latvian minister outlines Germany as an important strategic partner

Germany is a strategically important economic partner for Latvia, said Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs during his meeting with Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier on Friday, 21 February.

Access to illegal TV content denied to 11 000 Latvian households last year

In 2019 access to illegal TV content in Latvia was denied to 11 000 households. A dozen criminal processes have been commenced over illegal supply of audiovisual content, as reported by State Police.

Producer price level in Latvia’s industry down 1.3%

Compared to December 2019, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry didn't change in January 2020. Prices of products sold on the domestic market reduced by 0.7 %, but prices of exported products – increased by 0.7 %.

In China, coronavirus hits prisons as 500 prisoners and guards infected

In China, the outbreak of the dangerous coronavirus continues, over 500 cases of infections have been registered in prisons. Meanwhile, death toll from health problems related to the virus has reached 2 236, according to The Guardian.

Saudi Arabia provides Latvian companies stable tax regime

Latvia and Saudi Arabia have plans to provide businesses with stable tax regimes for companies working in each respective country without coverage from the other country’s regulations, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

Estonia accuses Russia over large cyberattack against Georgia

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu has stated that Estonia, just as Georgia and a number of Western countries, sees a Russian intelligence service as having perpetrated a large cyberattack on Georgia in autumn 2019, according to a statement on the web site of the Estonian Foreign Ministry.

Latvian Healthcare Ministry puts third stage of e-health project on hold

Healthcare Ministry plans to focus on existing e-health services and will not develop their next stage, said minister llze Viņķele at a press-briefing on Friday, 21 February.

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