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Week in Lithuania. President Grybauskaitė warns Donald Trump of Astravyets N-plant

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Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė

Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė told U.S. President Donald Trump at the summit of Central and Eastern European leaders in Warsaw on Thursday, July 6, about the importance of regional security and the threats of the Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).

«Today in Warsaw all Eastern Europeans and leaders of countries in our region had an opportunity to speak again, meet and state our opinion to U.S. President Trump. We have mentioned this to him in Brussels and now had a good opportunity to show and explain our specifics, the threats we are faced with and the expectations we have from the U.S.,» Grybauskaitė said in a comment circulated by the President’s Office. In her words, not only promises but actual tasks are now heard from the U.S. when it comes to regional security.

Minister expects Kaunas Airport to be ready for passenger influx

Kaunas Airport will be ready for a sharp increase in passenger numbers by mid-July when Vilnius Airport closes for runway reconstruction, Lithuanian Transport Minister Rokas Masiulis said on Tuesday, July 4. Within a month as Lithuania’s main airport, the Kaunas facility will serve about 3,600 flights and nearly 400,000 passengers. According to preliminary calculations, a total of 3,200 flights and 300,000 passengers will be moved to Kaunas for 35 days. Furthermore, the Kaunas airport will handle 460 of its «own» flights and 75,000 passengers over the period. The majority of flights will be moved from Vilnius to Kaunas, some 100 kilometres away from the capital, for 35 days due to the runway reconstruction that is scheduled to start on July 14.

Lithuanians’ OSCE resolution on Belarus’ N-plant blocked

At Sweden’s imitative, Lithuanian parliamentarians’ resolution criticizing the construction of Belarus’ Astravyets nuclear power plant was blocked at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly on Wednesday, July 5. Lithuanian parliamentarians say that they collected the required number of signatures, but the Standing Committee removed the draft document from the agenda of the Parliamentary Assembly’s session in Minsk at the initiative of Swedish Socialist MP Kent Harstedt.

Defence minister setting up rapid response teams for cyber operations

Rapid response teams for cyber operations are being set up from civilians in Lithuania’s defence system. Vice-Minister Edvinas Kerza said three such teams were currently being formed in Vilnius, each consisting of 20 people employed in the field of information technologies. In his words, specialists are currently checking credibility of the candidates to handle classified information. Concerns over cyber attacks have recently been heightened by the ransomware viruses, such as WannaCry.

EU directive stalls at Seimas after refused partnership

Partners were deleted from the definition of family members at the Lithuanian parliament following this week’s discussions to shift the European Union’s (EU) directive to ban discrimination on grounds of citizenship. The provision proposed by MP Petras Gražulis of the Order and Justice party was supported by 44 Lithuanian parliamentarians, while 20 were against and 21 abstained, therefore, the bill was changed considerably and was sent back to the Human Rights Committee. The panel’s recommendation was to reject the Gražulis’ proposal.

PM sees Social Democrats’ initiative as ‘slap in the face’

A draft amendment tabled by the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP), the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union’s junior ruling coalition partner, to reintroduce a reduced VAT rate on district heating and hot water services is «a slap in the face», Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Wednesday, July 5.

Seimas extends session until July 13 due to forest reform

The Lithuanian parliament on Tuesday, July 4, extended its spring session until July 13. Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Seimas, said that the session had to be extended for a second time so that the parliament could vote on a state forest management reform bill in the coming week. The Seimas last week decided to extend the current session until July 7, but the bill cannot be put to a vote this week due to certain procedural violations by the Committee on Rural Affairs.

Minister spars with Russia Today journalist

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius sparred with a journalist of the Kremlin-financed television channel Russia Today over propaganda and journalists working for state-controlled media during an international conference on the safety of journalists in Vilnius on Monday, July 3.

Government asks for ratification of Rail Baltica deal

The Lithuanian government on Wednesday, July 5, initiated the process of ratification of an agreement on the development of the European standard-gauge railway Rail Baltica that the three Baltic prime ministers signed in January.

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