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Week in Lithuania: Court sanctions fugitive judge’s arrest, President meets Pope, pollution tax proposed

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Lithuania, Viačeslav Titov, Miglė Tuskienė, fugitive judge

Former Lithuanian judge Neringa Venckienė

Last week, in Lithuania, Court sanctioned the arrest of s fugitive judge, Lithuanian President met with the Pope, a pollution tax was proposed and the parliament passed «spy swap» bill.

Vice-minister to become von der Leyen’s economic advisor

Lithuanian Deputy Finance Minister Miglė Tuskienė will become economic advisor to Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission’s incoming president, Lithuanian media reported on Friday, November 8. Tuskienė, 48, has served as finance vice-minister since August 2017. Previously, she held the post of financial counsellor at Lithuania’s Permanent Representation to the EU.

Court grants ex-judge’s arrest

Prosecutor Darius Jakutis asked on Thursday, November 7, a court in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second-largest city, to sanction the arrest of Neringa Venckienė, a former judge and lawmaker who was extradited from the United States earlier on Wednesday, for two months; the request was satisfied on Friday, November 8.

Parliament passes «spy swap» bill

The Lithuanian parliament adopted on Thursday, November 7, an amendment to the Criminal Code that details the president’s right to pardon a convict involved in a spy swap deal. President Gitanas Nausėda can make the earliest pardon decisions next week when the bill will be signed into law and following recommendations from the clemency commission.

President meets Pope, Italian leaders

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda went on Thursday, November 7, for a two-day visit to Rome and met Pope Francis and Italy’s leaders. On Thursday, the president also met with members of the local Lithuanian community and visited the Pontifical Lithuanian St. Casimir’s College in Rome. On Friday, November 8, Nausėda met with Pontiff Francis and with President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti.

Culture minister in action

Images of a huge concrete slabs laid around next a unique Gothic church in Zapyškis, a small town near Kaunas, have provoked social media outrage, Lithuanian Culture Minister Mindaugas Kvietkauskas on Wednesday, November 6, described the project as an aggressive and inappropriate solution and promised to seek accountability of those behind the decision.

LFGU proposes one-off pollution tax

The ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union continued this week pushing through with its proposal to introduce a car pollution tax but it would apply only once a car is registered in the country the first time. The tax would not be applied to further car registrations when owners would change within the country. The tax is expected to be approved with next year’s budget and would come into force next year. The tax would range from 18 to 760 euros, depending on the CO2 emissions per kilometre. Diesel cars would be taxed from 115 grams of CO2 per kilometre, and petrol and LNG cars would start from 130 grams.

President invites Finland to join efforts on Astravyets NPP issue

President Gitanas Nausėda, currently in Helsinki, on Tuesday, November 5, invited Finland to join efforts to ensure the safety of the nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus. Lithuania maintains that the Astravyets nuclear power plant Russia’s Rosatom is about to complete is unsafe and poses threat to the country’s national security, environment and people.

Lithuania affirms plans to buy LNG ship

Lithuania’s Klaipėdos Nafta provided this week some details regarding its plans to purchase the Independence floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) it currently leases from Norway’s Hoegh LNG or another vessel by late 2024. The Board of Klaipėdos Nafta decided to borrow up to 135.5 million euros from the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) for a period of 26 years. It was also decided to propose that the National Energy Regulatory Council reduce the LNG terminal charge for gas consumers by 27 million euros annually starting next year.

PM took sick leave due to fever

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, who is being treated for lymphoma, took sick leave on Monday, November 4, and Tuesday, November 5, because he had a fever, but was back in office on Wednesday, November 6. According to Skvernelis, medical tests had to be conducted to make sure that the fever was not caused by an infection. The prime minister thanked those sincerely concerned about his health, but noted that some politicians had already start spreading rumours about his allegedly very poor condition.

Memoirs of 1863 uprising leader’s wife presented

The first Lithuanian-language edition of memoirs of Apolonia Sierakowska, the wife of one of its key commanders, was presented to the general public on Thursday, November 7. In the book, the wife of Zygmunt Sierakowski, known in Lithuania as Zigmantas Sierakauskas, shares her memories about her husband and family, and the uprising. Twenty-one insurgents were executed in Vilnius’ Lukiškės Square between 1863 and 1864 and were secretly buried on the capital’s Gediminas Hill, which was closed to the public at that time.

Controversial Titov loses his seat in Klaipėda council

Viačeslav Titov, a Klaipėda councillor convicted of defaming Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, one of the leaders of Lithuania’s anti-Soviet partisan resistance, lost his mandate after the Central Electoral Commission (VRK) on Tuesday, November 5, stripped him of the municipal councillor’ mandate.

Foreign minister meets with Ukrainian filmmaker Sentsov

Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius met on Friday, November 8, with Ukrainian film director, writer and Crimea activist Oleg Sentsov in Vilnius. Sentsov was detained in Russia-annexed Crimea and sentenced to 20 years in a Russian prison on charges of terrorism in 2015. He was freed in September as part of a prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia.

Šilenskis appointed CEO of Klaipėdos Nafta

Darius Šilenskis has been appointed CEO of Lithuania’s state-run oil and LNG terminal operator Klaipėdos Nafta (Klaipėda Oil, KN), having led the company’s oil business so far. He will assume the new position on November 11.


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Development of areas along Rail Baltica line will require investments worth EUR 300 million

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Information about VDD new office building’s construction costs is a state secret

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Kariņš: Latvia is no longer the younger brother – our country’s voice is heard

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Aivars Lembergs picks ex-prime minister’s freelance advisor Grudulis as his lawyer for debates

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Lukashenko: Belarus needs to diversify its oil imports, introducing Baltic supplies

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