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Wednesday 26.02.2020 | Name days: Mētra, Evelīna, Aurēlija

Week in Lithuania: police on hunt of a child’s kidnapper, 2020 conscription list announced, Belarus seeks Lithuania’s help

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Lithuania, Vilnius, police

In Lithuania, the top news stories last week were the police hunt of a child’s kidnapper, the announcement of the 2020 conscription list and Belarus seeking Lithuania’s help court.

Liberals’ proposal on MPs’ minimum age

The opposition Liberal Movement has proposed to amend the Constitution to lower the minimum age for standing as a candidate in Lithuania’s parliamentary election to 21 years.  The Constitution currently allows any Lithuanian citizen aged 25 years and over to run for a seat in the Seimas. Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, the leader of the Liberal Movement’s political group in the Seimas, says young people become increasingly involved in politics, but are underrepresented in the parliament. The minimum age of candidacy is currently set at 18 years in 16 EU member states, the Liberal MP noted.

Court upholds 7-yr jail sentence for Russian spy

The Lithuanian Court of Appeal on Friday, January 17, upheld a seven-year prison sentence for a Lithuanian citizen convicted of spying for Russia. Klaipeda Regional Court handed down the jail sentence to Sesel last April for collecting information for Russia on NATO military ships, the oil product and LNG terminal operator Klaipėdos Nafta, and other infrastructure. Sesel did not admit to any of the charges during the trial at the lower court.

Minister, FIFA official discuss preparations for Futsal World Cup 2020

Lithuanian Education, Science and Sport Minister Algirdas Monkevičius and Jaime Yarza, Head of FIFA Tournaments, met in Vilnius on Friday, January 17, to discuss preparations for the 2020 FIFA Futsal World Cup. Lithuania will host the 2020 FIFA Futsal World Cup on September 12 through October 4, with arenas in Kaunas, Vilnius and Klaipeda chosen as the venues. Twenty-four teams from all continents have qualified for the final tournament.

President on Astravyets NPP as top issue

President Gitanas Nausėda has promised this week to continue raising the issue of the Astravyets nuclear power plant, under construction in Belarus, at the top level. In his words, the European Union and its leaders have to understand that it’s a pan-EU problem. In his words, constructive discussions are underway the Astravyets NPP with Poland, Latvia and Estonia.

Police want info regarding alleged kidnapping

Lithuanian police are looking for a man who could provide information on the alleged kidnap of a girl in Vilnius officers are investigating. The capital’s police received a report at around 7:14 p.m. on Wednesday, January 15, that a girl aged 11 or 12 years could have been forced into a silver or yellow car with foreign number plates in Sausio 13-osios Street.

President’s opinion on PM may change

President Gitanas Nausėda said on Thursday, January 16, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis bears full responsibility for Transport Minister Jaroslav Narkevič, adding that his attitude to the prime minister himself would depend on the ethics watchdog’s conclusions regarding the paving of a road close to the prime minister’s home.

Minister hails green energy auction’s result

-Lithuanian consumers will benefit after an investor that is not asking for state support has won the country’s first green energy auction, Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas said on Thursday, January 16. The National Energy Regulatory Council (VERT) announced Windfarm Akmenė One, a foreign-owned company that plans to build an 18-turbine wind farm with a total capacity of 90-101 megawatts (MW) in the northern district of Akmenė, as the winner of the country’s first technology-neutral auction on Thursday.

Belarus’ request for Lithuania

Lithuania’s oil terminal operator Klaipėdos Nafta says it has received a request from Belarus, locked in a row with Russia over oil supplies, to handle the neighbouring country’s crude imports. According to him, Klaipėdos Nafta is ready to handle crude oil from ships. The Lithuanian company says it can handle up to 3 million tons of oil for Belarus which imported around 18 million tons of crude from Russia last year.

Ministry publishes 2020 military conscription lists

The Defence Ministry published on Wednesday, January 15, this year’s mandatory military conscription lists. The lists contain over 38,000 names in total. Some 3,828 of them will be called up for a nine-month military service at various military units in Lithuania. The lists were compiled for the first time after the age range at which men are called up for mandatory military service was lowered to 18-23 years, from 19-26 previously.

Lithuania fears «shock therapy» if EU funding drops

Several Lithuanian ministers who met with President Gitanas Nausėda on Wednesday, January 15, say Lithuania’s budget will not avoid «shock therapy» and the country risks getting stuck in the middle income trap if EU cohesion funding drops. Under the EU multiannual budget bill for 2021-2027, cohesion funding, aimed at reducing gaps among EU members, would be cut by around 27 percent for Lithuania. EU leaders are set to gather for the next round of talks on the new budget in late February.

President proposes reform

President Gitanas Nausėda has proposed this week overhauling the country’s public procurement system by centralising the network of contracting authorities and simplifying lower-value procurement. The head of state is also suggesting that any disputes on procurement conditions be mandatorily considered by the Public Procurement Service under a pre-trial procedure, and social and environmental initiatives be promoted when considering public procurement.

Foreign Ministry seeks to blacklist Chinese woman

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday, January 14, suggested putting a Chinese citizen on the persona non grata list after the woman vandalized crosses placed on the Hill of Crosses near the northern city of Siauliai in support of Hong Kong protesters. The Chinese woman posted a video on social media in which she picks a cross placed in support of Hong Kong protesters in a mocking manner and throws it away.

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