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

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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.


Leave a reply

  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.

Researchers: Eastern Latvian cities promote Russia’s influence in Latvia

Despite Latvia’s difficult relations with Russia, two major Latvian cities engage in initiatives adhering to the interests of the eastern neighbour, researchers of the Centre for East European Policy Studies have found in a new, revealing study.

Experts on Latvia’s compensations to Jewish community: Good idea poorly developed

The Latvian draft law on paying compensations to the Latvian Jewish community for the real estate confiscated by Nazi and Communist occupation powers embodies a good idea, yet the requested sum and articles of law lack clear substantiation, legal experts commented to BNN.

Hollywood filmmaking in Tallinn? Estonia considering EUR 5 million support

The Estonian government is reviewing a request from film director Christopher Nolan, renown for Hollywood thriller blockbusters, to support with five million euros a film currently shot in Tallinn. Estonian state movie budget for 2018 is two million euros.

Annual inflation in Latvia, Estonia among EU's highest

Data on the annual inflation rate in the European Union showed that price rise in Latvia was 3.5%, followed by Estonia with 3.1%, Eurostat reports.

Nausėda’s pick for doctor seen as éminence grise of Lithuanian health care

Lithuanian President-elect Gitanas Nausėda has chosen Remigijus Žaliūnas as his personal doctor. The pick is seen as controversial by LRT broadcaster over Žaliūnas’ contacts with both business heavyweights and policy makers.

Latvian Prime Minister not to bend to budget appetite of extra EUR 600 million

For the Latvian state budget of 2020, the ministries have submitted requests exceeding the spending plans by 600 million euros, said Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš to Rīta Panorāma TV programme. The PM also expressed determination not to raise taxes.

Availability of cancer diagnostics in Latvia worsening critically, surgeon warns

The availability of cancer diagnostics and chemotherapy in Latvia is worsening critically, warned the head of the Oncology Clinic of the Riga Eastern University Hospital, surgeon Armands Sīviņš.

Take two: Trump starts re-election campaign for U.S. President

U.S. President Donald Trump has officially opened his bid to be re-elected to the post in the 2020 election. The new campaign slogan is: «Keep America great». There are 39 other candidates competing in the race to White House.

Ban on anonymous comments suggested after Baltic Pride in Vilnius

To stem offensive comments on Lithuanian internet media, member of the Seimas Vytautas Kernagis has suggested banning such anonymous expression of opinion, yet European case law upholds the right of authorless speech online, LRT reports.

Plaster to education: Latvian teachers’ pay increased for 2019 alone

The Latvian government has approved the rise of the lowest pay rate of teachers, but funds for this purpose have been earmarked only for the second half of 2019.

Pay cut to major Latvian port board members approved by government

The salary of the board members of major Latvian ports has been cut by a quarter in a decision by the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers.

Nordea bank searched in Denmark over money laundering allegations

The Danish offices of the Scandinavian Nordea Bank have been searched by police as a probe in alleged money laundering is being conducted, Bloomberg reports.

Fire Service: Violations in new Ventspils music school prevented

In the newly-built Ventspils Musical High School and concert hall Latvija, which had problems with fire safety, the Latvian State and Fire Rescue Service has found in a repeated inspection that the violations have been fixed.

UN: 2.2 billion people globally still lack safe drinking water

A report by the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organisation has found in study that 1 in 3 people or 2.2 billion people around the world lack safely-managed drinking water, while 673 million people practice open defecation.

Key owner of pharmaceutical giant Olainfarm changes board member over distrust

In Olmafarm, the largest owner of the Latvian pharmaceutical giant Olainfarm, changes in the management board have taken place over no-confidence, according to a decision of the majority of the co-heirs of Olmafarm seen by LETA news agency.

Lithuanian experts: No way of stopping coming nuclear power plant of Belarus

Options that could stop the building of a nuclear power plant in Belarus have been exhausted, experts in neighbouring Lithuania have said to its public media.

Latvia pushing for joint stance of Baltic-Nordic MPs on security policy

Ahead of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe, it is key for the legislators of the eight Baltic-Nordic states to have a common position on security policy, said MP Inese Ikstena, head of the Latvian delegation.

Latvian coalition undertakes to rise teacher salaries over reform

Recognising that education reforms in Latvia have been initiated, the ruling coalition has pledged to pass the decision to allocate funds to rising teacher salaries, as indicated by Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš. Kariņš stated that the coalition parties have established that «reforms envisaged by Minister of Education Ilga Šupilinska have been initiated».

Latvian Enterprise Register: Companies not revealing true beneficiaries to be wound up

Once changes to the Latvian Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing are signed by State President, the Enterprise Register will be tasked with winding up legal entities not revealing their true beneficiaries.

Latvian PM: If Estonia breaks deal on alcohol excise, we’re forced to respond

If Estonia has broken a deal with Latvia on alcohol excise tax, then Latvia is left to no choice, but to respond with a corresponding cut in excise, said Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš.

Never too late to marry – elderly marriages jump in Latvia

Over the year 2018 in Latvia, the total number of marriages fell by 0.7 %, the number of marriages concluded by elderly population grew 1.7 times, data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia showed.

Eesti Energia suggests introducing customs tax to cheap Russian power

Estonian state energy firm Eesti Energia has proposed introducing a customs tax to electricity imported by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from Russia.

Social care centre in Latvia blamed for severe human rights violations

Latvian Ombudsman’s Office has found severe human rights violations in the social care centre Ezerkrasti and accused the institution of not complying with recommendations to it. Ezerkrasti is a branch of the state social care centre Riga, located outside the Latvian capital.

Unmarried couples’ law to be proposed in Latvia

In the Latvian Saeima, this week, a draft Law on Unmarried couples would be proposed by the party alliance Attīstībai/Par!.

Glass fibre maker Valmieras stikla šķiedra files for legal protection

Latvia-based glass fibre maker AS Valmieras stikla šķiedra has on Monday, June 17, announced filing for the start of legal protection proceedings aimed at ensuring sustainable continuation of group level operations.