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Saturday 29.02.2020 | Name days:
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Week in Lithuania. First presumed presidential race contenders open up their plans

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Vygaudas Usackas, former EU ambassador to Russia

Lithuania’s former diplomats Vygaudas Ušackas and Žygimantas Pavilionis on Friday, April 6, were the first to confirm their plans of running for early elections of the conservative party that will pick its candidate for president.

Ušackas, 53, has been a diplomat since 1991, serving as Lithuania’s foreign minister in 2008-2010. He has headed Lithuania’s embassies to the United States and Great Britain, the European Union’s (EU) diplomatic missions to Afghanistan and Russia. He is currently the director of the Europe Institute at the Kaunas University of Technology.

Pavilionis, 46, has been a diplomat since 1993, serving as secretary at the Foreign Ministry in 2006-2009 and heading Lithuania’s Embassy to the US in 2011-2015. He said he would also seek to become the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democratic Party’s candidate for the 2019 presidential race.

Nausėda, 53-year-old adviser to president of SEB Bankas, who is leading all the presidential polls in Lithuania, said his decision on joining the race would come in September.

The ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union has not yet decided on the scheme of proposing a candidate for the next year’s presidential election. Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has said he had not yet decided on joining the race, pledging to give his decision later.

European Commissioner Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis is viewed as the most prospective candidate of the Social Democratic Party, however, says he would announce his decision at a later date.

Kaunas Mayor Visvaldas Matijošaitis listed high on public opinion polls has not yet revealed his plans on running for Lithuania’s president.

Apple sets up company in Lithuania

US information technologies giant Apple has set up a subsidiary in Lithuania. Apple Lithuania was listed on the Lithuanian Centre of Registers on March 30, with Ireland-registered Apple Distribution International being its only shareholder. The firm in Lithuania is headed by Apple’s international corporate law director Peter Denwood. Apple Lithuania’s authorized capital is 2,500 euros.

Lithuania leaves Georgia’s name unchanged

Georgia will remain the official name of the country in Lithuania, however, the State Commission for Lithuanian Language will allow the use of alternatives. The decision was taken unanimously, with 15 members in support. Georgia has asked Lithuania to use a different version of its name, as the current one is Russian.

Ruling LFGU MPs want annex on GMO

The ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union suggest ratifying the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) on a condition that it will include Lithuania’s statement on imports of genetically modified organisms and hormone-treated beef. A relevant amendment was registered by members of the LFGU political group, namely, Ramūnas Karbauskis, Mindaugas Puidokas, Agnė Širinskienė and Tomas Tomilinas. In Karbauskis’ words, LFGU aims to clear the doubts that have heightened in Europe on the different standards on GMO applied in the EU and Canada.

New CEO of national broadcaster plans to publish some tender info

Monika Garbačiauskaitė-Budrienė, the new general manager of the Lithuanian national radio and television (LRT), pledges to bring more transparency to the operations of the national broadcaster by making some of the deals and tenders public.

RusLine to resume flights from Vilnius to St. Petersburg

Russian airline RusLine announced it intends to resume flights from Vilnius to St. Petersburg in June. The company will conduct the first flight on June 1 and will carry out three weekly flights afterwards, on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, Rusline said. In the summer of 2018, RusLine intends to resume flights from Moscow to Lithuania’s largest seaside resort of Palanga.

Professor urges colleagues to work together in analysis of independence acts

Vytautas Magnus University professor Liudas Mažylis who discovered the long-sought Lithuanian Independence Act last year is inviting researchers of countries celebrating their centennial anniversaries this year to pool their efforts for analysis of the independence declarations. The professor noted that the independence declarations had not yet been examined. Conservative MP Emanuelis Zingeris says he would propose synchronising the political statements of all countries. Mažylis found the resolution on restoration of statehood in Germany’s diplomatic archives in March of 2017.

Lithuania grants 20,000 euros in support to Yemen

Lithuania has earmarked 20,000 euros in humanitarian aid to Yemen. Granted by the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, the money will be transferred to the United Nations (UN) fund for humanitarian assistance to Yemen. All in all, Lithuania has granted Yemen 65,000 euros since 2014, including the latest donation. The Baltic country has this year already earmarked 115,000 euros in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Palestine’s refugees and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Lithuania joins EU project to develop naval surveillance technology

Lithuania has joined the European Union (EU) initiative OCEAN2020 aimed at boosting naval technological research in surveillance and interdiction missions. The project is the first initiative launched by the European Defence Fund, which was founded last year to step up the integration of European armies and the defence industry. The Ocean2020 project will be conducted by Italy’s company Leonardo SPA with 42 partners from 15 EU nations.

Seimas drafts salvage plan for European Humanities University

Amendments have been registered at the Lithuanian parliament to allow the Vilnius-based European Humanities University (EHU) to continue its operations in Vilnius regardless of the negative expert conclusions. EHU in late 2017 received a negative assessment from the Lithuanian Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education. The government has sanctioned its operations until 2019.

Former Air Force chief seeks reinstatement

Audronis Navickas, former commander of the Lithuanian Air Force, seeks to be reinstated into the position after a court has found that his dismissal was unlawful. Lithuania’s Supreme Administrative Court last week heard Navickas’ plea on the demand and will pronounce its verdict on April 11.

The finding will be final and not subject to appeals. The Defence Ministry has also turned the court with the plea, asking to annul the ruling of the court of first instance. After the probe of helicopter repairs Navickas was reinstated to office and soon after listed in the army’s temporary reserve, followed by sacking a few months later for humiliating the name of the defence minister and the chief of defence.


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Gints Miķelsons put in charge of Latvian Construction Contractors Partnership

From 1 March 2020 onward Gints Miķelsons, who has been the head of Latvian Sustainable Construction Council will be in charge of the Latvian Construction Contractors Partnership, as confirmed by construction contractors.

While Latvia’s GDP grows 2.2%, other Baltic States experience more rapid growth

In 2019, Latvia experienced the slowest GDP growth among Baltic States, according to data from Latvia’s Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

Latvia’s GDP growth reportedly 2.2% in 2019

Compared to 2018, the economic growth continued and Gross Domestic Product increased by 2.2 %. In 2019, GDP at current prices amounted to EUR 30.5 billion. Compared to Q3, in Q4 2019 GDP at constant prices grew by 0.1 %, according to seasonally and calendar adjusted data.

Retail trade turnover in Latvia up 2.6% in January

Compared to January 2019, total retail trade turnover rose by 2.6 % in January 2020. Turnover of retail trade in food products grew by 4.4 %.

Vilnis Ķirsis to remain in charge of Unity’s faction in Riga

On Thursday, 27 February, Vilnis Ķirsis was once again picked as the head of Unity party’s faction in Riga, as confirmed by the party.

Latvia and USA sign joint declaration to enhance 5G network security

On Thursday, 27 February, Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sign a joint US-Latvian declaration on 5G network security, as reported by Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Estonian Tallink Grupp sees profit growth of EUR 9.7 million on year

Estonian provider of ferry transport and related services Tallink Grupp has worked in 2019 with a net profit of 49.7 million euros, according to its unaudited financial results of the year, as reported by Estonian public broadcaster ERR.

Jakrins reportedly a beneficiary in a company that organizes Brasas and Deglava bridge repairs

Long-standing Riga City Council official Emīls Jakrins, who was in charge of the Transport Department not long ago, is beneficiary and factual owner of LLC TecPro Construction, which is a contractor to Lithuanian company Kauno tiltai, which has been hired by the city council to repair Brasas and Deglavas bridges, as reported by Diena newspaper, referencing unofficial information.

UK ready to switch to WTO trade rules if no EU by end of year

The British government has declared that unless concessions are made by Brussels in EU-UK talks on their future cooperation, the former EU member would trade with the bloc on WTO rules from 2021, British news portal The Guardian reports.

Residents able to submit compulsory income declarations by 1 June; VID urges using EDS

March 2020 will mark the beginning of the three-month period within which all residents for whom it is compulsory will be able to submit their income declaration for 2019. This period will last three years for residents for whom this process is voluntary, as reminded by the State Revenue Service.

Lithuanian border guards start informing travellers about the situation with Covid-19

As the new coronavirus Covid-19 continues spreading in Europe, Lithuanian border guards have begun informing travellers from Latvia and Poland about necessary protective measures.

Turkish soldiers killed in Syria, in regime airstrike, Ankara says

In the current epicentre of the Syrian civil war, 33 soldiers of the NATO member state Turkey have been killed as Syrian government military aviation carried out attacks on Turkish military posts set up in its neighbouring country, German broadcaster DW reports citing Ankara.

Weather in Latvia to be winter-like at week’s end

Weather in Latvia is expected to be winter-like at the end of the week – air temperature is expected to drop below 0° C at night in most of the country. In some areas cold snap may be felt during the day, as reported by Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

First coronavirus infection case found in Lithuania

The first coronavirus infection case is confirmed in Lithuania, as mentioned in Lithuanian government’s statement released on Friday, 28 February, as reported by 15min.lt.

SPKC urges passengers of 26 February Istanbul-Riga flight to respond

Latvia’s Disease Control and Prevention Centre is looking for passengers who flew together with confirmed coronavirus patient from Istanbul to Riga on Wednesday, 26 February.

Regional hospitals in Latvia report high demand for protective clothing

Because of the outbreak of the new coronavirus Covid-19, demand has considerably increased for individual protective clothing, which forces prices to go up, as reported by heads of hospitals.

Rail Baltica not just marvelled, but cussed too in Lithuania

If implemented, the ambitious 5.8-billion euro Rail Baltica project aiming to build a nearly 1000-kilometer rail link from Helsinki to Poland through Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will be a major infrastructural achievement of the Baltics, but the possibility of dashing at the now surreal speed of 250 kilometres per hour as soon as in 2026, when the project is slated for completion, comes at expense of many land owners in Lithuania’s six municipalities, which will be crossed by the European-gauge tracks.

Construction costs in Latvia up 2.8% in January

Compared to December 2019, the level of construction costs in Latvia fell by 0.2 % in January 2020. Labour remuneration of workers reduced by 0.9 %, prices of building materials – by 0.1 %, but maintenance and operational costs of machinery and equipment – rose by 0.2 %.

In Greece, violent protests against new migrant camps continue for 3rd day

In Greece, continued protests and clashes have resulted in over 60 people suffering injuries as people on the islands of Lesbos and Chios protest against the construction of new migrant centres, British public broadcaster BBC reports.

Minister says Latvia’s initiated territorial reform will create more sustainable municipalities

The report from the European Commission mentions that Latvian government’s initiated administrative territorial reform will create more sustainable municipalities with greater capacity and ability to provide services of comparable quality, as reported by Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry.

Latvian Saeima changes the prosecutor general’s selection order

On Thursday, 27 February, Latvia’s Saeima approved amendments to the order under which the country’s prosecutor general is selected.

Textile producer in Lithuania complies with Greenpeace standards in industrial textile making

Lithuanian textiles producer Utenos Trikotažas has been deemed by environmental protection organisation Greenpeace as complying with the standards of the later as to not using hazardous chemicals and being fair and transparent in its business, LRT reports.

From March onward prices of alcoholic beverages to increase in Latvia

Through a measured and gradual increase of excise tax rate policy, starting with 1 March 2020 the excise tax rate for alcoholic beverages in Latvia will increase, as confirmed by the State Revenue Service.

435 whistle-blower reports received in eight months in Latvia

In the first year of the Whistleblowing Law, Latvian central state institutions have received 435 reports from whistle-blowers, as reported by the State Chancellery.

Estonia finds first positive coronavirus case

In Estonia, the first case of a person being infected with the novel coronavirus has been found, stated Estonian Social Affairs Minister Tanel Kiik on Thursday, February 27, as cited by Estonian public broadcaster ERR.


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