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Wednesday 21.08.2019 | Name days: Linda, Janīna

Week in Lithuania: Nausėda, a new President, inaugurated, Skvernelis stays as PM, mayor handcuffed

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Last week, Kaunas marked 75th anniversary of ghetto liquidation, Nausėda presented his team, MPs initiated simpler MP mandate revocation procedures.

Gitanas Nausėda inaugurated as Lithuania’s new president

 Before swearing-in ceremony on Friday, July 12, Nausėda visited the monument to the nation’s patriarch Jonas Basanavičius in the morning. Nausėda was sworn in during a solemn parliament sitting and then observed a military line-up in the Independence Square outside the Seimas and a parade on Gediminas Avenue from the Seimas to the Cathedral Square. In the afternoon, a ceremony of the handover of the Presidential Palace took place, and then the government returned its power to the new president. A concert took place in Simonas Daukantas Square outside the Presidential Palace in the evening, and an inaugural reception was held in the courtyard of the President Palace.

Kaunas marked 75th anniversary of ghetto liquidation

Lithuania’s second-largest city of Kaunas on Thursday, July 11, launched events to mark the 75th anniversary of the liquidation of the Jewish ghetto, with film viewings, excursions, concerts and commemoration of the Holocaust victims planned from Thursday through Sunday. The ghetto in the Vilijampolė area was operated during the German occupation of Lithuania in 1941-1944, and it was liquidated in July, 1944 as the front was approaching.

Skvernelis announces decision to stay as MP

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis on Tuesday, July 9, announced his decision to stay in the position. He said he would continue working, adding, however, that the government needs to be effective and non-populist and carry out the work defined in its program. He announced his decision to stay following his meeting with President-elect Gitanas Nausėda.

MPs calls for blacklisting of Russian Duma member

Members of the Lithuanian Seimas Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe have proposed to blacklist Nikolay Ryzhak, a member of the Russian Duma, and ban him from coming to Lithuania. The MPs stated that during an Assembly session, Ryzhak, being a member of the Russian delegation, recognized and justified in his official statement the mass deportations of residents of Lithuania and other Baltic states by the Soviet Union after the war.

Lithuania voices protest to Russia

 Lithuanian diplomats expressed their protest to a representative of the Russian Embassy on Thursday, July 11, over Russia’s decision to mark the takeover of Vilnius and Kaunas during WWII with artillery salutes this Saturday and on August 1. Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that the Soviet occupation did not bring freedom for Lithuania after Nazi Germany was pushed out.

Outgoing president thanks government for common work

 Lithuania’s outgoing President Dalia Grybauskaitė on Wednesday, July 10, thanked the government led by Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis for common work and contribution to the country’s development. This government’s key tasks have been the overhaul of state enterprises, making their management more transparent, as well as ensuring defence funding, according to a statement issued by the presidential press service.

Government backs legalisation of hemp products

The Lithuanian government on Wednesday, July 10, backed the amendments under consideration by the country’s parliament, the Seimas, to allow the use of the whole hemp plant by lifting the existing restriction to grow it only for fibre, seeds and gardening.

Lithuania’s president-elect presents members of his team

President-elect Gitanas Nausėda on Wednesday, July 10, introduced his team, announcing that Algė Budrytė, who led his presidential election campaign headquarters, will be in charge of his chancellery. And Ieva Ručinskaitė will be in charge of the president’s cabinet. Simonas Krėpšta, director of the central Bank of Lithuania’s Financial Stability Department will lead the economic and social policy group. Povilas Mačiulis, a former vice mayor of Kaunas, will be in charge of the internal policy group. Asta Skaisgirytė-Liauškienė will lead the foreign policy group. Former Energy Minister Jaroslav Neverovič will head the environment and infrastructure group, and Jūrate Šovienė, a deputy chairman of the country’s Competition Council, will chair the legal group.

Bakas to step down as chair of Seimas’ CNSD

Vytautas Bakas, an influential MP, will step down as chairman of the Lithuanian parliament’s Committee on National Security and Defence after leaving the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union’s political group in the Lithuanian Seimas. Bakas announced his decision to leave the LFGU group yesterday, saying that the party has changed on one of the key priorities declared during the Seimas election campaign, fighting corruption.

Over 40 MPs propose narrowing down legal immunity

Speaker of the Lithuanian Seimas, Viktoras Pranckietis, and over 40 lawmakers have proposed this week to narrow down the legal immunity of MPs, judges, prime minister and ministers. They have drafted constitutional amendments stating that a member of the Seimas, judge, minister and prime minister could be prosecuted without the Seimas or presidential consent, if they are suspected of having committed a less serious or serious crime.

European political parties can operate in Lithuania

The Seimas of Lithuania on Tuesday, July 9, legalised the registration of European political parties in the country as member states are required by EU law to introduce such rules. The amendments on the registration of European political parties with the Register of Legal Persons as of October were backed by 86 Lithuanian lawmakers, with no objections and four abstentions.

Kupiškis District mayor busted

Lithuania’s Special Investigation Service (SIS) on Tuesday, July 9, detained Dainius Bardauskas, mayor of the country’s northeastern district of Kupiškis, representing the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats. The SIS is carrying out a pre-trial investigation into alleged abuse of official position and influence peddling at Kupiškis District Municipality, and searched have been carried out at several locations today.

Opposition leader favours early election

Early general election is probably the only solution to the existing political circus, Lithuania’s liberal opposition leader Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen said this week. In her words, despite Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis’ decision to stay in the position, the newly-formed ruling coalition seems to be necessary to satisfy party interests, not to ensure smooth government work.

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Subsidies to controversial Riga transport company could increase by EUR 20 mln

Amid the criticism of the Riga municipal transport company Rīgas satiksme for its losses and their effect on the Latvian state budget, a plan has been voiced to increase its subsidies, now 120 million euros, by another 20 million euros, Latvian Radio reports.

Latvian Minister keeping adviser detained by corruption watchdog for now

Latvian Agriculture Minister Kaspars Gerhards will clarify the reason, why his advisor and the mayor of the city of Ogre, Egils Helmanis, has been detained by corruption investigators, to decide on keeping him in office.

Trump, Macron willing to readmit Russia to G7, despite Crimea annexation

The leaders of France and the United States have expressed their backing to readmitting Russia to the G7 conference of world powers in 2020, despite Ukraine’s Crimea still being held by Moscow, CNN reports.

Latvian excise tax income up by 8% in first half of 2018

The Latvian excise tax income in the first half of 2019 has been 521 million euros, –an increase by 39 million euros, or 8.1% – compared to the respective period last year, showed data by the Latvian State Revenue Service.

Latvian PM: Most of freely available 2020 budget funds already earmarked

Discussing the 2020 Latvian national budget, Latvian prime minister Krišjānis Kariņš pointed out that its fiscal space is limited by previous decisions and that the expected losses of the Riga transport company will not permit raising wages and pensions nationally.

Corruption watchdog detains Ogre city mayor Helmanis

The Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has on Wednesday detained the mayor of central Latvian city of Ogre, Egils Helmanis, according to LETA news agency.

New members to Freeport of Riga Authority elected, despite criticism

The Riga City Council elected to the Board of the Freeport of Riga Authority, mayor Oļegs Burovs and councilman Sandris Bergmanis, despite heavy criticism of the latter for incompetence and lack of vision.

Italy loses government, coalition of right-wing, anti-establishment parties collapses

Italy has lost its government with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announcing resignation after the right-wing League party pushed for no-confidence motion to its own government.

Kaljulaid opposed to Estonian minister after police chief scandal

Alleging that Estonian Interior Minister Mart Helme has violated the law by trying to sack top police chief, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid has stated that the minister has no place in the government.

Planned Latvian economic cases’ court conceptually backed by government

The plan by the Latvian Ministry of Justice to establish a court of economic cases has on Tuesday, August 20, been supported by the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers.

Riga deputy mayor posts go to Harmony and independent politician

In the Riga City Council, deputy mayors have been elected with one post going to Anna Vladova from Harmony and the other – to Vadims Baraņņiks from the group of independent councilmen.

Latvia charges energy company executives for attempted fraud

Two board members of Latvian power company SIA Rīgas enerģija have been charged in a criminal case for an attempt to acquire with deceit the rights to supply electricity as part of the mandatory procurement component programme.

Consumer protection: 34% of Latvians admit post-vacation financial difficulties

During vacation, 77% of Latvians spend more money than planned, but 34% admit having trouble making ends meet after vacation, according to a poll by the Latvian Consumer Protection Centre.

Firms like Riga transport company to be banned from working with losses, minister says

As the European Union’s statisticians have classified the Riga municipal transport company Rīgas satiksme in the debt of the national budget, it is planned in Latvia to prohibit such companies from working with losses, Latvian Finance Minister Jānis Reirs has told LNT 900 sekundes programme.

Minor dies in large fire in Latvia

An underage person has been found dead in a large fire in the Latvian region of Vidzeme, the Latvian Fire and Rescue Service has said. Person wascsaved from burning house in Liepāja.

UK aims to end free entry of EU citizens on October 31

UK to stop free migration from European Union member states to the country right after the likely no-deal Brexit on October 31, the British government has stated.

Riga city elects new mayor – Oļegs Burovs – and restores decade-old coalition

The Riga City Council has elected Oļegs Burovs as the new mayor, ending two months of political discussions and restoring the coalition that has ruled in the Latvian capital for ten years.

EU: Rīgas satiksme cuts Latvian budget fiscal room in 2020 by 72 mln EUR

The Riga city company Rīgas satiksme should, according to European Union criteria, be in included in the general government sector, thus it would cut the fiscal space of the 2020 Latvian state budget by 72 million euros, Finance Ministry stated.

Latvijas Krājbanka’s administrator recovered 542 thousand euros in July

The administrator of the insolvent Latvian bank Latvijas Krājbanka recovered 524 444 euros in July, which is by 75% more than a month earlier, according to the official gazette Latvijas Vēstnesis.

Latvian post-reform administrative centres to have 2 000 - 630 000 populations

After the planned administrative reform of Latvia, the population size of the administrative centres of the new municipalities is expected to vary from 2 000 to 632 000 people, according to a conceptual report by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development.

A week of warm, but changing weather forecast for Latvia

Weather in Latvia this week is expected to be summer-like and warm, with rain expected on Thursday and Friday, according to the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Kabul wedding terror attack committed by Islamic State, the group says

Responsibility for the terror attack in Afghanistan, where explosives killed 63 people. has been claimed by the Afghan branch of the Islamic State terrorist group.

British Gibraltar releases seized Iran oil tanker

An Iranian oil tanker detained by Gibraltar, part of the United Kingdom, has sailed away from port after being allowed to do so despite Washington’s call to detain it again.

BNN summary of the week: Latvia’s biggest budget; PNB Bank halts operations; Latvia sad with Latvia

Some positive news surfaced in Latvia this week – Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš announced that the country’s next budget will be the largest one yet and will exceed EUR 10 billion. In spite of this, however, financial difficulties have been observed – PNB Bank has ended up in a tight spot. The bank’s shortage of funds has forced Finance and Capital Market Commission to halt all of the bank’s financial operations.

Week in Lithuania: PM Skvernelis undergoes surgery, Nausėda meets Merkel, rebukes Latvia

Last week, President Gitanas Nausėda rejected the government’s candidate for EU judge, hints of big changes at Šiaulių Bankas ahead

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