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Saturday 17.08.2019 | Name days: Oļegs, Vineta

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.

Week in Lithuania: PM Skvernelis undergoes surgery, Nausėda meets Merkel, rebukes Latvia

Last week, President Gitanas Nausėda rejected the government’s candidate for EU judge, hints of big changes at Šiaulių Bankas ahead

Independent Deputies Faction joins forces with Honour to Serve Riga

Riga City Council’s Independent Deputies Faction has signed a cooperation agreement with Honour to Serve Riga political party, pledging support for the party’s mayoral candidate Oļegs Burovs, as LETA was told by the faction’s leader Valērijs Petrovs on Monday, 18 August.

Saeima’s MPC investigation committee requests information on every issued license

The parliamentary committee formed to investigate the mandatory procurement component has requested access to information regarding every issued MPC license and decision made by officials in regards to this field, says the committee’s representative Ilze Vanaga.

Latvian athlete receives two-year disqualification

Former Latvian long jumper Ineta Radeviča has received a two-year disqualification, as confirmed by International Association of Athletics Federation’s Athletics Integrity Unit.

Minister: state budget funds will not be used to compensate PNB Bank’s clients

The Deposit Guarantee Fund is sufficient to pay compensations to affected PNB Bank clients. This means not a cent from Latvia’s state budget will be used, said Latvia’s Finance Minister Jānis Reirs in a telephone conversation with public broadcaster LTV programme Rīta Panorāma on Friday, 16 August.

Estonia to invest 22 million in construction of a new TV house

Estonian government has set aside EUR 22 million for the construction of a new public television building, as reported by Estonian public media ERR.

Another one falls – Latvian FCMC halts PNB Bank’s operations

Operations of PNB Bank [formerly Norvik Banka] have been halted in Latvia, as confirmed by Finance and Capital Market Commission.

Unemployment index in Latvia drops – rate down to 6.4% in Q2

In Q2 2019 Latvian unemployment rate constituted 6.4 %. Compared to the previous quarter, unemployment rate fell by 0.5 percentage points, and compared to the rate recorded a year ago, it dropped by 1.3 percentage points.

64.7% of Latvia’s population reportedly employed in Q2 2019

905.6 thousand people or 64.7 % of Latvia’s population aged 15–74 were employed in Q2 2019.

Lithuanian Conservatives’ tensions: can the party split?

The Conservative Homeland Union - Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD) have risen to unseen heights lately – although in the opposition now, in 2016 parliamentary election the party racked up a record support in its 30 years’ history.

Minister: Latvia’s social budget surplus has reached one billion

The surplus of the state social budget has come close of the pre-crisis level – EUR 1 billion, said Latvian Welfare Minister Ramona Petraviča in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorama on 15 August.

Riga City Council permitted to elect mayor after two-month deadline

In spite of the fact that 21 August will mark two months of Riga City Council working without a mayor, a condition that permits Latvia’s Saeima to dismiss the entire city council, deputies of the municipality will nonetheless have the right to elect a mayor after the deadline, says Environment Protection Minister Juris Pūce’s advisor for legal affairs Valdis Verners.

Lithuanian president unhappy with Latvia’s decision to purchase energy from Belarus

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda has voiced sadness over Latvia’s decision to purchase electrical energy produced at Astravets nuclear power plant in Belarus not far from the Lithuanian border. He admits, however, that this decision was not unexpected for him.

State Real Estate claims ReRe Būve 1 may be trying to circumvent the law

Construction company Rere Būve 1 publicly voices desire to continue implementing the construction contract. However, the construction company’s submitted work schedule for reconstruction of New Riga Theatre has everything changed – volume of work, terms and budget, Latvian State Real Estate reports.

Lithuanian mountaineer dies climbing French Alps

Lithuanian 38-year-old mountaineer Vytautas Mažeika died in a 50 m fall in the French Alps, Lithuanian public media LRT reports with reference to

Estonia decides to reform pension system; increase not promised

Helir-Valdor Seeder, leader of Estonian coalition party Isamaa, has confirmed that the government has agreed on his proposed pension reform, as reported by Estonian public media ERR.

Ruling party in Lithuania promises national agreement for education affairs

While more and more small town schools close down in Lithuania, the leader of the ruling party promises a «national agreement» for education affairs, as reported by Lithuanian public media LRT.

Viesturs Zeps’ has yet to convince NCP and Unity to support him as mayoral candidate

Mayoral candidate in Riga Viesturs Zeps still has not convinced New Conservative Party and Unity to support him, according to what he said in an interview to public broadcaster LTV programme Rīta panorama on Thursday, 15 August.

Audit: planning problems impede growth of Latvia’s defensive capabilities

Problems with planning are the main reason why Latvia’s defensive capabilities are developing slowly, as concluded by State Audit.

Minister: increase of doctors’ wages is a priority over all other promises

First it is necessary to increase doctors’ wages. Then it will be possible to tackle all other promises, said Latvian Healthcare Minister Ilze Viņķele during a meeting of the Saeima’s Social and Employment Matters Committee on Wednesday, 14 August.

Is Latvia becoming more hospitable? Tourist upturn observed

A total of 781.1 thousand visitors stayed at Latvian tourist accommodation establishments in Q2 2019, which is 1.1 % more than in Q2 2018.

Village in Russia to be evacuated following nuclear accident

Russian authorities have announced evacuation of Nenoksa village, as it is the closest to the military area where a nuclear accident recently happened. This may mean the situation there is far more dangerous than initially reported, as reported by New York Times.

Lithuania’s president says he sees no reason to meet with Putin

A meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is unlikely and would be pointless, said Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nausėda in an interview to public media LRT.

Shadow of political dealings over SRS. ZZS people – Knoks, Podiņš, Vaivars

Although the State Revenue Service has never had a truly spotless reputation, there is now a much bigger and darker shadow hovering over the service’s director general Ieva Jaunzeme. Serious concerns have been voiced in regards to possible employment of «chosen people» in important posts, which allows them to either halt or push criminal processes forward in order to make life difficult for their political opponents, pretending to fight the good fight while, in reality, realizing some «political hit».

Prime Minister: 2020 budget will be Latvia’s largest one yet

The next year’s budget will be the largest in the history of Latvia and will exceed EUR 10 billion, said Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to public broadcaster LTV programme Rīta Panorāma on Wednesday, 14 August.

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