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Wednesday 18.09.2019 | Name days: Liesma, Elita, Alita

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

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda (L)

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

PM underwent surgery on 1st day of leave

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said he underwent a surgery on Monday, August 12, the first day of his vacation, but gave no details apart from noting that the procedure was successful. Tomas Beržinskas, the prime minister’s spokesman, gave no further information to media, citing the privacy of Skvernelis and his family. The prime minister underwent a vision correction procedure in late October 2018. Finance Minister Vilius Šapoka is standing in for the prime minister while he is on vacation.

President rejects government’s nominee for EU judge

President Gitanas Nausėda has rejected the government’s proposal to re-appoint Virgilijus Valančius for another term as judge at the EU General Court. The government nominated Valančius for the position on July 31, but the candidature was not endorsed by the president. It is rumoured judge Danutė Jocienė of the Lithuanian Constitutional Court was Valančius’ most serious challenger for the nomination.

President calls Latvia’s decision to buy Astravyets electricity ‘regrettable’

President Gitanas Nausėda says Latvia’s decision to buy electricity generated by Belarus’ Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), under construction close to the Lithuanian border, is «regrettable» but «not very surprising». According to Nausėda, the Latvian government decided to purchase Belarusian electricity without completing consultations with the Lithuanian Energy Ministry. The Latvian government said earlier on Wednesday, August 14, that it will purchase electricity directly from Belarus after Lithuania starts blocking power energy imports from the neighbouring country.

MP Rozova denied access to classified info 2 years ago

MP Irina Rozova has confirmed that she was denied access to classified information two years ago. Ro Earlier on Wednesday, August 14, the Seimas’ Committee on National Security and Defence (NSGK) discussed Rozova’s participation in an event of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) that sparked protests in Georgia in June. Vaidotas Mažeika, deputy director of Lithuania’s State Security Department (VSD), said that the participation in the assembly was «a risk factor».

Lithuania-based Spanish jet was unsafely approached by Russian fighter

NATO said on Tuesday, August 13, a Spanish fighter jet scrambled from Lithuania’s Siauliai air base was approached  «in an unsafe manner» by a Russian fighter-jet escorting Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu’s plane.  Russian media reported that Russian fighter-jets forced Spain’s F-18 jets away when the NATO aircraft approached the Russian military passenger plane carrying Shoigu. The Alliance confirmed that the incident occurred when a TU-214 aircraft and two fighter-jets were tracked over the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, August 15.

President Nausėda and German chancellor Merkel meet in Berlin

President Gitanas Nausėda met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Wednesday, August 14, and discussed the European agenda and security issues. Nausėda conversed with Merkel in German during their first get-to-know meeting. Nausėda met German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday, August 15. This is the Lithuanian president’s third foreign visit after he assumed his position a month ago. Earlier, Nausėda paid visits to neighbouring Poland and Latvia.

Outgoing minister sees no chance for Vaitkus

Outgoing Transport Minister Rokas Masiulis sees no possibility for Arvydas Vaitkus, the former chief executive officer of the Klaipeda State Seaport Authority, to return to head any strategic state enterprise.  Vaitkus, who managed the port of Klaipeda since 2013, was dismissed from the port of Klaipeda in March after Masiulis raised doubts whether Vaitkus could be impartial towards companies which backed him during the municipal and mayoral elections.

Companies have not breached EU’s Russia sanctions

Lithuanian’s Prosecutor General’s Office said on Tuesday, August 13, that Hanner, one of the largest real estate development companies in Lithuania, Panevėžys-based company Pluošto Linija, as well as Raimondas Tumėnas’ BTInvest have not violated the European Unions’ anti-Russian sanctions, thence the investigation has to be dropped. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, none of the companies has imported into the EU goods of Crimea or Sevastopol origin.

 MPs’ initiative on corruption-suspected judges

MP Vytautas Bakas has registered this week a parliamentary initiative to launch impeachment proceedings against judges of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, suspected of corruption. In total 37 lawmakers suggest launching the impeachment process against Egidijus Laužikas of the Supreme Court, and also Vladimaras Bavejanas, Viktoras Kazys and Konstantinas Gurinas of the Court of Appeal.

Lithuania rejects Belarus’ reproach

Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has officially informed Belarus that a Belarusian company was removed from a Gas Interconnector Poland-Lithuania (GIPL) construction tender because it did not meet the national security requirements. Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius confirmed on Tuesday, August 13, the fact that Lithuania handed in a diplomatic note to Belarus, rejecting its reproaches.

Court halts ESO’s EUR 150 mn smart meter tender

A court in Lithuania has temporarily halted a tender valued at around 150 million euros and called by power and gas distribution operator Energijos Skirstymo Operatorius (Energy Distribution Operator, or ESO) for the purchase of smart electricity meters and the system’s IT solutions.

Šiaulių Bankas gears up for major changes

Lithuania’s Šiaulių Bankas’ recent announcement about possible strategic changes shows that the bank’s board is serious about changes, market participants believe. Šiaulių Bankas had announced its plans to look for a strategic activity direction, including the bank’s possible sale or merger. A review of alternatives for the bank will be produced by Wood & Co and Superia Corporate Finance. Some analysts said earlier Polish banks might be interested in acquiring Šiaulių Bankas. EBRD invested into Šiaulių Bankas in 2005 when it bought a 16.1 per cent stake for 5.8 million euros.

Ex-Lithuanian basketball player on trial

Former Lithuanian basketball player Rolandas Alijevas stood in the court stand this week for illegally accessing his ex-wife’s social media and email accounts. In early August, 2018, Alijevas used his former wife’s passwords to access her Facebook account and, later on, her email, without her knowledge or consent. Alijevas and Goda Alijeva divorced in July, 2018.

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U.S. urges Lithuania not to honour people linked to Holocaust

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Minsk stands for its nuclear rights as Lithuania warns about Astravyets’ safety

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University of Latvia to organize a new procurement for House of Letters

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Amnesty International awards teenage climate activist Thunberg

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