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Friday 28.02.2020 | Name days: Skaidrīte, Justs, Skaidra

Week in Lithuania: Funeral for 1863-1864 uprising commanders held, new election threshold discussed

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 Klaipėdos Nafta LGN terminal Volodymyr Zelensky Neringa Venckienė Lithuania Vilnius

Last week, Lithuania decided against sending troops to Syria, IMF called to step up reforms, PM on three-day sick leave

Vilnius hosts state funeral for commanders of 1863-1864 uprising

Vilnius hosted a state funeral ceremony for the commanders and participants of the 1863-1864 uprising on Friday, November 22. Led by Lithuanian and Polish guard troops, the coffins with the remains of Zigmantas Sierakauskas (Zygmunt Sierakowski in Polish) and Konstantinas Kalinauskas (Konstanty Kalinowski), the leaders of the Lithuanian uprising, as well as those of another 18 uprising participants were taken from the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania to Vilnius Cathedral. The remains were later carried the old Rasos Cemetery with a stop at the Gate of Dawn on the way.

Polish president invites Nausėda to Žalgiris battle anniversary

Polish president Andrzej Duda on Thursday, November 21, invited Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda to the commemoration of the 610th anniversary of the Battle of Zalgiris (Grunwald) next year. Nausėda spontaneously accepted the invitation during a press conference in Vilnius. The Battle of Zalgiris was fought July 15, 1410 near Grunwald was one of the major battles of the epoch. The alliance of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, led by Polish King Jogaila and Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas, defeated the German–Prussian Teutonic knights.

Lithuania will not send troops to Syria yet

Lithuania will keep the option of sending troops to the international operation in Syria but has no plans to do that any time soon, it turned out on Thursday, November 21, during the deliberation of a Seimas resolution on giving mandate for troops to take part in international operations over the next two years. Several years ago, Lithuania sent military instructors to Iraq where they trained local forces to fight against the Islamic State.

IMF calls on Lithuania to step up reforms

The International Monetary Fund’s mission in Lithuania has called on the country to step up the implementation of structural reforms aimed at increasing productivity, especially in the areas of health and education, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday, November 21.The IMF has acknowledged that these areas are the least efficient, Finance Minister Vilius Šapoka said.

Aga to build a gas plant in Lithuania

Aga, a company of the global industrial and medicinal gas producer and supplier Linde, has obtained permission to build an oxygen and nitrogen plant in central Lithuania. The company says it is planning to invest 20 million euros in the facility in the Kėdainiai Free Economic Zone (FEZ). The plant is planned to be completed in late 2021. It will be Aga’s second air separation unit in the Baltic countries. The first one was launched in Latvia 12 years ago.

PM admits mistakes by transport minister

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis admits that Jaroslav Narkevič lacks experience and has made mistakes, but the head of government does not plan to make any decisions regarding the transport and communications minister, at least for now.

Lithuanian PM takes 3nd sick-leave day

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, who is being treated for lymphoma, took a third consecutive day of sick leave on Friday. Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas is standing in for the prime minister. Skvernelis said in late August that he had been diagnosed with stage 1 lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, and would not be able to work on some days due to the ongoing treatment.

EC: Lithuania’s 2020 draft budget compliant

Lithuania’s draft budgetary plan for 2020 has been ruled by the European Commission to be compliant with the Stability and Growth Pact, Lithuania’s Finance Ministry said. The European Commission projects balanced budgets for Lithuania in 2019 and 2020. And Lithuania’s Finance Minister expects a headline budget surplus of 0.1 per cent of GDP in 2019 and 0.2 per cent in 2020.

Minister discussed national minorities’ education

Education Minister Algirdas Monkevičius on Wednesday, November 20, met with his Polish counterpart, Dariusz Piontkowski. The meeting focused on national minority education issues, according to Barbara Stankevič, the minister’s spokeswoman.

New election threshold favoured

As the Seimas of Lithuania deliberates changes to the existing election thresholds for political and parties and their coalitions to get into the Seimas, President Gitanas Nausėda says he is in favour of 4 and 6 per cent thresholds. They were earlier backed by the parliamentary Committee on State Administration and Local Authorities but politicians from the ruling block want them reduced to 3 and 5 per cent respectively. Now parties need to exceed the 3 per cent threshold in the multi-member constituency o get into the country’s parliament, and there’s a 7-per cent threshold for coalitions.

Ex-Lithuanian diplomat Bačkis dies

Former Lithuanian diplomat and chairman of the Lithuanian community in France Ričardas Bačkis has passed away at the age of 85, the Lithuanian Embassy in France said.

Ex-judge Venckienė leaves remand prison

Neringa Venckienė, a former Lithuanian judge and parliamentarian recently extradited from the United States, left Kaunas Remand Prison on Tuesday, November 19, after a court released her on 10 000-euro bail. The former lawmaker is suspected of refusing to obey a court order, resisting a police officer, hindering a bailiff, and hitting mother of her niece, in the face.

Seimas speaker’s meeting with Zelensky cancelled

The Lithuanian parliamentary speaker’s planned meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev did not take place on Monday, November 18. Zelensky, a political novice who became Ukraine’s president last spring, is scheduled to visit Vilnius on November 26-27.

Klaipeda LNG terminal’s service price to go up

The Klaipėda-based LNG terminal’s security component might go down by 5.6 million euros next year after more revenue would be collected from the terminal’s users, its state-run operator Klaipėdos Nafta (Klaipeda Oil) said on Monday, November 18.

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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

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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