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Ceturtdiena 17.10.2019 | Name days: Karīna, Gaits
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Week in Lithuania: Liberals leader turns down LFGU leader’s offer, new MPs sworn in, a new party in the making

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Last week, in Lithuania, the key events were in national politics as new legislators joined the Seimas and an offer on Seimas speaker was rejected and PM favoured taxing bank assets.

Lithuania to fund university studies for Ukrainians from war zone

The Lithuanian government will help four Ukrainians from the war-hit eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk to finance their studies in Lithuanian universities, the Education, Science and Sports Ministry said on Friday, September 27. Education, Science and Sport Minister Algirdas Monkevičius has signed an order to prove funding for the Ukrainians’ studies. Up to 15 Ukrainians can apply for state-funding for university studies after completing secondary education in Lithuania.

Liberals’ leader rejects ruling LFGU offer to take Seimas speaker’s seat

Ramūnas Karbauskis, the leader of the ruling Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU), has confirmed that he offered the backing of his political group to Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen if the opposition Liberal Movement’s leader agreed to run for speaker of the Seimas. Karbauskis said he thought that Čmilytė-Nielsen would be very competent for the job and she would have received support even if the Liberals did not join the ruling coalition. The Liberals leader declined the offer though, claiming she did not want her party to be used as «a tool in dealing with the ruling bloc’s problems».

Lithuanian visa application centres launched in India

Lithuanian visa application centres have been opened this week in three Indian cities to facilitate the process for Indian nationals, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, September 26. In cooperation with the outsourcing service provider VFS Global, the Visa Application Centre for Lithuania was officially opened in New Delhi on September 25. Such centres have also been launched in Mumbai and Bangalore.

Three new Lithuanian MPs sworn in

Three new members of the Seimas were sworn in in the parliament on Thursday, September 26, following last Sunday’s by-election in three single-member constituencies. Paulė Kuzmickienė of the conservative Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats won the by-election in the capital’s -Žirmūnai constituency and Rasa Petrauskienė, the other conservative, was elected in Gargždai, in western Lithuania. Social Democrat Liudas Jonaitis scored victory in the Žiemgala constituency covering the northern districts of Pakruojis and Joniškis and a part of Siauliai District.  The by-election was held just over a year before the next general election scheduled for October 2020 after three MPs elected in these constituencies won seats in the European Parliament.

Vilnius mayor asks Belarus for direct access to N-plant monitoring data

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius says he has asked Belarus’ ambassador for direct access to the Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant’s environmental monitoring data. Šimašius met with Belarus’ new ambassador, Valery Baranovsky, on Thursday, September 26. Despite an agreement signed between Vilnius and Minsk about two decades ago, there is no cooperation between the two capitals now, according to the mayor.

Opposition MPs call committee meeting over foreign ministers’ meeting

The opposition Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats’ MPs Audronius Ažubalis, Emanuelis Zingeris and Žygimantas Pavilionis called an extraordinary meeting on Thursday, September 26, of the parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs over Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius’ recent meeting with his Belarusian counterpart, Vladimir Makey, in New York.  The Conservatives want answers from Linkevičius about Lithuania’s position in talks on EU-Belarusian partnership priorities and the course of the negotiations as well as about steps to achieve a common EU stance on safety risks posed by the nuclear power plant.

Lithuanian watchdog slaps fine on City Service

The Lithuanian Competition Council has imposed a fine of 1.07 million euros on the property administration and maintenance group City Service for obstructing an investigation. According to the competition authority, Būsto Aplinka and Mano Busto Priežiūra, both part of the group, obstructed its officials in conducting their investigation and obtaining the necessary documents.

Lithuania’s Order and Justice to found new party

The board of the Order and Justice Party has decided to set up a new political party and bring in a new leader from outside. Members of the party board agreed that the new chairman should be someone from outside the party, he said. According to Žemaitaitis, the new party will be named either «Sovereign Lithuania» or «United Lithuania – Sovereign Lithuania». A task group will be appointed next week to open talks with potential leaders and other people will be invited to join the organization as well, the chairman said.

PM says his cabinet spoke out for tax on bank assets

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says his Cabinet would «approve in principle» a move to tax commercial banks’ assets. The Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania–Christian Families Alliance, which has tabled such a proposal, says the measure would bring in around 100 million euros in extra budget revenue. Skvernelis thinks, however, that the amount would probably be lower. He said it is difficult to find any logic to why Lithuania still does not have a tax on banking assets. The initiators of the amendments say some European countries, such as Britain, Hungary, Portugal, France and Sweden, have similar taxes on banks and financial institutions.

Lithuanian watchdog decides to block access to 9 online TV sites

The Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission (LRTK) decided on Wednesday, September 25, to block access to nine online sites broadcasting TV programs. The nine sites – www.online-television.net, www.pr2pr.net, www.trefoil.tv, www.sunduk-tv.com, www.sunduk.tv, www.videomore.ru, www.viaway.com, www.rus24.tv and www.lapti.tv – will be inaccessible for users in Lithuania, the authority said in a press release.

Government okays agreement with Latvia on joint border maintenance

The Lithuanian Cabinet approved on Wednesday, September 25, the ratification of a Lithuanian-Latvian agreement on the maintenance of their shared state border. Lithuania has earmarked 556,000 euros for border inventory-taking works, with the bulk of the money to go toward border markers and the border strip. Some 69,000 euros will be needed annually to ensure the minimal maintenance of the border.


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Latvian security service develops terrorism financing prevention strategy

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