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Wednesday 19.09.2018 | Name days: Verners, Muntis
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Week in Lithuania. President calls PM's proposal on Russia commission «irresponsible»

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Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has proposed this week to resume political contacts with Moscow and says that the Lithuania-Russia dialog could cover trade relations and energy, agriculture and transport issues, as well as the situation of Lithuanian teachers in the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad.

President Dalia Grybauskaitė on Thursday, January 4, described Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis’ proposal as «irresponsible».

According to the president, key strategic energy, transport or trade issues have to be dealt with the participation of EU institutions. In Grybauskaitė’s words, bilateral top-level political contacts can take place with countries demonstrating friendly relations.

Officials to draw up rescue plan for European Humanities University

Lithuanian officials plan to draw up a rescue plan for the Vilnius-based European Humanities University (EHU), which is on the brink of closure after getting a repeated negative evaluation from experts. Politicians and officials from the Education and Science Ministry and the Foreign Ministry held an informal meeting on Thursday, January 4, to discuss EHU’s situation. Minister Jurgita Petrauskienė said that the external review of EHU, whose students are mostly from Belarus, had identified its weaknesses. Nora Skaburskienė, director of the Lithuanian Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education, or SKVC, said that EHU needed radical reforms.

Lithuania plans to cut number of state enterprises

Lithuania will likely have only five companies with the status of a state enterprise in half a year’s time, including the Centre of Registers, the state car registration company Regitra, the State Forestry Enterprise, the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant and an agricultural regulation company, Economy Minister Virginijus Sinkevičius said on Wednesday, January 3. According to the minister, the reduction of the number of state enterprises is aimed at abandoning certain activities and functions that are not important for the state and transferring some of these to the market. The plan calls for converting some state enterprises, such as Oro Navigacija (Air Navigation), Lietuvos Oro Uostai (Lithuanian Airports), the Klaipeda state seaport and Kelių Priežiūra (Road Maintenance), into public companies.

Court finds no grounds for indicting infamous author

The Vilnius Regional Court ruled on Wednesday, January 3, that there were no grounds for opening a pre-trial investigation regarding statements by Rūta Vanagaitė, an author and public relations specialist, about Lithuanian anti-Soviet resistance commander Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas. Judge Vladislavas Lencikas believes that the writer made a mistake in failing to take all the material and NKVD methods into consideration. He said that Vanagaitė’s remarks were not so dangerous as to require considering subjecting Vanagaitė to criminal liability, noting that she had apologized in public for her comments. The Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office said in November that Vanagaitė’s remarks about Ramanauskas-Vanagas could not be recognized as a crime as there was no evidence that she had deliberately made false statements with the aim of undermining people’s respect.

Rifas to hire 100 amid expansion in Panevėžys

Rifas, a Panevėžys-based electronic system production company operated by Estonian group Harju Elekter, announced of expansion in Lithuania and plans to hire 100 new employees over the next three years in addition to the current staff of 120. Lithuania’s Economy Minister Virginijus Sinkevičius says the enlargement of Rifas is important for the regional economy of Panevėžys. Rifas receives goods and services from about 100 suppliers. Within the coming three years, Rifas plans to hire 100 electrical equipment installers, electrical and 3D mechanical engineers to design and produce systems for industrial companies and new-generation ships.

President acquires plot in Vilnius outskirts

President Dalia Grybauskaitė has paid 75,500 euros for a land site in the outskirts of Vilnius, delfi.lt news portal said on Tuesday, January 2. In a declaration of private interests submitted in late December, Grybauskaitė said that the deal to purchase the land had been finalised. The size of the plot has not been disclosed.

Achema, LTD agree with Gazprom on gas purchases in 2018

Fertilizer manufacturer Achema, Lithuania’s largest single natural gas consumer and the state-owned gas trading company Lietuvos Dujų Tiekimas (Lithuanian Gas Supply, or LDT) reported it had signed in late December contracts with Russia’s gas giant Gazprom on natural gas purchases in 2018. Achema plans to buy around 9 megawatt-hours (MWh), or around two-thirds of its gas, from Gazprom, with the rest to be purchased from Norway’s Statoil through the Klaipeda liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal.

Lithuania imposes further restrictions on alcohol market

After some tightening of alcohol consumption and sales in Lithuania in 2017, new, tighter restrictions are put in place this year. Starting January 1, all alcohol ads, with a few exceptions, are banned and the legal drinking age is raised from 18 to 20. Alcohol selling hours in retail stores are limited to between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. from Mondays to Saturdays and between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Alcoholic drinks are banned in sports arenas and sports halls during sports events. Cafes, pizzerias and bars will be able to serve alcoholic drinks in outside seating areas within 40 meters of the doors.

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