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Week in Lithuania. Central Bank chief notes signs of economic overheating

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Lithuania’s central bank governor Vitas Vasiliauskas

Lithuania’s economy shows signs of overheating, however, they are not of the extent they were during the economic boom before the latest financial crisis in 2008-2010, says Vitas Vasiliauskas, chairman of the board of the central Bank of Lithuania.

«Yes, there are signs of heating; however, they cannot be compared to what they were before the crisis, as the characteristics are different. Crediting is growing at a normal pace, public sector spending is under control, exports markets are indeed stable, changes in the euro exchange rate – they will not have an impact on the main exports market, as it is within the euro area. For now, I do not see reasons to predict a recession,» Vasiliauskas told journalists on Friday, September 8.

In his words, Lithuania’s economy has not yet reached the peak of development, therefore, should think about accumulating reserves and refrain from spending all money in hopes of having enough cash all the time.

SD Vilnius branch wants out

The Vilnius branch of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (SD) wants the political force to leave the ruling bloc with the Farmers and Greens Union. The Vilnius branch is the Social Democrats’ biggest unit. To date, 49 members of the branch voted in support of exit, while 25 wanted the coalition agreement to be reconsidered and 13 wanted to stay in the bloc. The Social Democratic Party is currently asking its branches about the party’s future in the coalition with the Farmers and Greens Union. The results are expected on Sept. 20, with the final decision expected after the Sept. 23 meeting of the party’s council.

Lithuania to rename Museum of Genocide Victims

After years of discussions and international criticism, Lithuania’s politicians, state institutions and public organizations have agreed to change the name of the Museum of Genocide Victims located in the former KGB building in Vilnius. The name of the museum, which mainly focuses on crimes committed by the Soviet regime, will no longer include the word genocide – it will be titled the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights in the future, according to a proposal to be shortly submitted to the Lithuanian parliament.

Lithuania advises EU to set up «military Schengen»

Lithuania has suggested establishing a so-called military Schengen project within the European Union (EU) to facilitate movement of military capacities. The initiative was discussed at the Tallinn meeting of EU defence ministers where discussions focused on establishment of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and the European Defence Fund (EDF).

Lithuania’s Q2 GDP growth slowest in Baltics

Economic growth in Lithuania in the second quarter of 2017 was slower than in Latvia or Estonia and lagged slightly behind the EU’s average, according to revised estimates published by the EU statistical office Eurostat on Thursday, September 7. Lithuania’s GDP expanded by 0.6 percent in the second quarter from the first quarter, compared with growth of 1.2 percent in Latvia and 1.3 percent in Estonia.Year-on-year, Lithuania’s second-quarter GDP grew by 4 percent. Latvia and Estonia recorded growth rates of 4.8 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively. Across the EU, GDP grew at an annual 2.4 percent and by a quarterly 0.7 per cent.

Two Lithuanian ex-MPs go on trial

The Vilnius Regional Court started hearing a criminal case in which two former members of the Seimas — Kęstas Komskis and Valdas Vasiliauskas – are tried for picketing outside the home of prosecutor Irmantas Mikelionis. The men, who were members of the Order and Justice political group in the parliament, are charged with hindering the prosecutor in performing his duties, an offense punishable by community service, a fine, restriction of liberty or a custodial sentence for up to two years. Both defendants deny their guilt.

Lithuania better prepared for Zapad

Lithuania’s security situation and preparedness ahead of next week’s Zapad 2017 military exercise in Russia and Belarus is much better than in 2013, the heads of the parliament’s Committee on National Security and Defence said on Wednesday after being updated on the security situation in the region.

«Lithuania’s preparedness – I am speaking about the quality of security as well — is much better, of much higher quality that it was during the last Zapad exercise in 2013, when Lithuania was practically on its own. We have defence plans now. NATO has separate plans. Our forces are integrated, and this is a new level of quality,» Vytautas Bakas, the committee’s chairman, told reporters after the closed-door meeting.

Pensions to rise by 13.5 euro

Old-age pensions in Lithuania are set to rise by 13.5 euros on average next month after the government decided on Wednesday to increase the basic pension by 10 euros to 130 euros.

«We propose to increase the basic pension by 10 euros, from 120 euros to 130 euros. Starting October, this will affect all pensioners except for widows and widowers – around 840,000 people in total,» Social Security and Labour Minister Linas Kukuraitis said.

Lithuania makes offer to Poland’s Orlen

Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LG), the state-run railway company, has made an offer to the Polish concern Orlen, the operator of an oil refinery in Mažeikiai and the Butingė terminal, on settlement of the dispute on the dismantled railway stretch between Mažeikiai and Rengė, Lithuania’s Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said in Poland on Tuesday, September 5. In his words, the offer includes favourable tariffs of hauling Orlen cargo in exchange for the stretch not being rebuilt. The Prime Minister emphasized that Orlen freight could reach Belarusian and Ukrainian markets via Lithuania.

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