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Sunday 17.02.2019 | Name days: Konstance, Donats
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Week in Lithuania. President vetoes amendments

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Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite

President Dalia Grybauskaitė has vetoed amendments to the law on party funding and budget corrections giving the government the opportunity to borrow funds to finance unelected parliamentary parties.

The amendments would have paved the way for the Social Democratic Labour Party of Lithuania (SDLPL), which was established after the last general election, to get a state subsidy. The president believes political parties have the right to receive funding but that should be done not by borrowing but by planning funds for that in the next year’s budget, Mindaugas Linge, presidential adviser on internal policy issues, told journalists on Friday, October 26.

Investors shower Lithuania’s TransferGo with money

TransferGo, a money transfer startup set up by Lithuanians and having around 700,000 clients worldwide, has attracted 11.9 million euros during the main round of funding on the UK crowdfunding platform Seedrs. US venture capital firm Hard Yaka invested the majority (4.5 million euros) into newly-issued TransferGo shares, followed by Swedish venture capital firm Vostok Emerging Finance (2.25 million euros), Turkey’s Revo Capital (2.1 million euros), Italy’s U-Start (1.4 million euros) and Lithuania’s Practica Capital (0.250 million euros).

Klaipeda hosts forum on Lithuanian-Belarusian ties

Lithuania’s port of Klaipeda hosted on Friday, October 26, a public forum on what unites and divides Lithuania and Belarus. Historians, journalists and state officials held discussions on the countries’ historic memory, about Vilnius as a shared city of Lithuanians and Belarusians, national myths etc. The forum was organised by Klaipeda City Municipality, Klaipeda University and public and non-governmental organizations, including the Jerzy Giedroyc Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation, the Institute of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the institute «Political Sphere».

Reward of Lithuanian ballet dancer

The traditional Baltic Assembly Prizes were awarded in St Johns’ Church in Vilnius on Thursday, October 25, with Lithuanian ballet dancer Jurgita Dronina among the laureates. Dronina received the Baltic Assembly Prize for the Arts for her impressive performances on the world’s major stages. This year, the Baltic Assembly also awarded medals to 16 persons with merits to the Baltic states’ unity and cooperation.

Lithuanians once again warned about Yandex.Taxi

Lithuania’s National Cyber Security Centre, which has been monitoring activity of Yandex.Taxi, a ride-sharing service, in Vilnius for the past three months, has once again warned people against using this app. Security specialists have identified that this app demands access to sensitive consumer data and sends them to an address in Russia. NCSS head Rytis Rainys says there are no technical means to say how many people use this app in Lithuania.

Order and Justice party joins defence pact

Remigijus Žemaitaitis, leader of Lithuania’s Order and Justice party, on Thursday, October 25, signed an agreement by the country’s political parties on defence policy for the next decade. In early September, the agreement was signed by the leaders of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, Social Democratic Labour Party of Lithuania and Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance. The agreement, among other things, envisions increase in defence spending to 2.5 per cent GDP by 2030, which is 0.5 percentage point more than it is now.

Lithuania faces public condemnation over impeached President

The Council of Europe may adopt a resolution in December, stating that Lithuania fails to meet its international obligation by not implementing the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling on paving the way for Rolandas Paksas to stand as a candidate in elections. Donatas Murauskas, a representative of the Lithuanian government, said the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers will discuss this issue on December 4-6. This week, a fresh attempt to lift a lifetime ban on the impeached former president to run in elections, as ordered by the European Court of Human Rights, fell through. Seventy-eight members of the Seimas backed a constitutional amendment allowing an impeached person to stand in elections, 16 votes short of the necessary 94 for the vote to pass. Fifteen lawmakers voted against the amendment and four abstained.

President slams MP on Constitution’s amendments

President Dalia Grybauskaite on Thursday, October 25, strongly condemned lawmakers attempt to change Chapter 1 of the country’s Constitution, calling it irresponsible and dangerous. Her comment came in response to plans by MP Agne Širinskienė from the ruling LVŽS to submit a bill on lowering the threshold for amending this constitutional chapter. The lawmaker suggests allowing changing the Constitution’s Chapter 1 if more than half of citizens but no fewer than two fifths of people eligible to vote voted for it in a referendum. The Seimas has set the dates of May 12 and May 26 to hold dual citizenship referendum in Lithuania alongside the first and second round of voting in the presidential election.

Parliament rejects presidential veto

The parliament overturned on Thursday, October 25, President Dalia Grybauskaitė’s veto of amendments tightening the requirements for the construction of waste-to-energy plants, leaving in place the legislation it passed in September. Seventy-one lawmakers of the ruling bloc voted in favour of leaving the law in force unchanged. Thirty-six opposition MPs voted against and six members of the Seimas abstained. Seventy-one was the minimum number of votes needed to override the presidential veto. The President earlier this month sent the amendments back to the Seimas for improvement, saying the legislation imposes constraints on building new waste-to-energy plants in Lithuania without any reasonable environmental criteria.

President sends law on metro back to parliament

President Dalia Grybauskaitė has vetoed a law on Metro and sent it back to the parliament for improvement. According to the head-of-the-state, the bill runs counter to the EU legislation in that it classifies metro as a mode of railway transport.

Cabinet considers broadcasting its meetings

The Lithuanian Cabinet is considering broadcasting its meetings and storing video and audio recordings of both its meetings and formal sittings. The Cabinet approved the respective protocol decision. Skvernelis said this would require amending the Law on the Government, adding that the amendments could be drafted by October 31. There has been tension between the government on one side and the media and the opposition on the other side in recent weeks after the recording of the October 3 meeting, in which ministers discussed giving the media free access to registry data but postponed its decision on the issue, was deleted.

Government gives nod to legalise virtual office

If the parliament gives the green light for the legalisation of virtual offices, Lithuania will be among the first countries in the world to allow registering a business without a physical address, the Economy Ministry said. The Cabinet approved on Wednesday, October 24, the ministry’s proposal to allow company founders to choose a physical headquarters or a virtual office address. Economy Minister Virginijus Sinkevičius says the measure is aimed at simplifying the establishment of legal entities.


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