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Ceturtdiena 02.04.2020 | Name days: Imgarde, Irmgarde

Week in Lithuania: tax reduction for electric cars rejected, proposals on bigger excise duties, property taxes tabled

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Last week, in Lithuania, the top news stories were significant tax proposals, as well as criticism from LGBTQ activists against Lithuanian PM and the killing of a famous diplomat’s mother.

Lithuania wants more time to take in refugees

Lithuania will ask for more time to meet its refugee resettlement quota – it has taken in only a half of the asylum seekers so far, and a half of these have already left the country, the online news site reported on Friday, October 11. Lithuania committed in 2015 to accept 1,105 asylum seekers under the EU’s refugee relocation mechanism, but later the quota was reduced to 1,077, with October 31, 2019 set as the deadline.

Read more on this: Most EU members against migrant quota system, Estonia against any relocation

Lithuania calls on NATO to send air defence measures

NATO should send air defence measures to Lithuania to protect the international battalion deployed there, Raimondas Karoblis, Lithuanian Minister of National defence said on Thursday, October 10. Germany leads the international NATO battalion deployed in Lithuania since 2017, with around 600 German troops stationed in Lithuania. Karoblis says air defence measures are necessary to, first of all, protect the troops serving within the battalion as Lithuania does not have necessary systems for that.

LGBT activists slam Lithuanian PM’s initiative

Lithuanian and Polish sexual minority organisations on Thursday, October 10, slammed Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis’ initiative to nominate Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland’s conservative Law and Justice party, for a top Lithuanian state award, the Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great. LGBT organizations say Kaczynski, facing a parliament vote in Poland, is inciting hatred towards representatives of sexual minorities.

KN sets up subsidiary for LNG project in Brazil

Lithuania’s state-run oil and LNG terminals operator Klaipėdos Nafta has established a subsidiary company for its LNG terminal operator project in the Brazilian port of Acu. The subsidiary, named SGD SPB, was founded on October 9 with an authorised share capital of 25,000 euros and Klaipėdos Nafta CFO Jonas Lenksas as its CEO.  Orinta Barkauskaitė, head of communications at Klaipėdos Nafta, has confirmed that this is related to the company’s ongoing negotiations with Brazil’s Gas Natural Acu (GNA) on an operations and maintenance services agreement for a LNG terminal.

Mother of Lithuania’s ex-diplomat killed in car accident

The mother of Lithuania’s former diplomat Vygaudas Ušackas died when the car she was in hit a tree in Ukmergė, the online news site reported on Wednesday, October 9. The car was driven by Ušackas’ brother who was drunk at the time.  Based on preliminary police information, the 63-year-old driver lost control of his Honda CRV and hit a tree in the central Lithuanian town. The driver, who had 1.28 per mille of alcohol in his blood, was injured and taken to hospital.

Lithuania seeks transparency in politicians’ meetings

A Lithuanian parliamentary committee has proposed waiving the requirement for politicians to declare meetings with lobbyists. Previously, the Ministry of Justice had proposed making the president, members of the Seimas, ministers and vice ministers, government and ministerial chancellors, leader of political parties, mayors, councilors, administration directors and their deputies declare any lobbying activity they have been subjected to over every bill. They would be required to submit such reports to the Chief Commission of Official Ethics no later than over a period of seven days from the start of such lobbying activity.

Lithuania moves up to 39th place in WEF rankings

Lithuania has moved up one notch this year and came in 39th out of 141 countries in the World Economic Forum’s latest competitiveness report. Out of 12 areas of assessment, Lithuania received the best score in terms of macroeconomic stability 1st place), and the use of information technology (12th). But the country had the worst performance in the areas of health (85th), in terms of the size of the market (76th place) and financial systems (75th place), Lithuania’s statistics office, Statistics Lithuania, said.

Seimas decides against VAT reduction for electric cars

The Seimas of Lithuania on Tuesday, October 8, rejected a proposal by a group of lawmakers to reduce VAT for new electric cars. The group had proposed introducing a reduced 9 per cent VAT rate for new electric cars worth over 35,000 euros. But 42 MPs voted for debating the proposed amendment, eight were against and 40 abstained. Petras Cimbaras, representing the Social Democratic Labour Party of Lithuania and the person behind the initiative, said it would help Lithuania to meet its EU commitments on climate change control.

Tibetan asks Lithuanian Seimas for mediation with China

A member of the Tibetan parliament in exile has asked members of the Lithuanian Seimas (Parliament) to act as mediators in pursuit of dialogue between the Tibetans and China. Thubten Wangchen told members of the Lithuanian Seimas on Tuesday, October 8, that the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Communist People’s Republic of China on Oct 1 means over six decades of torture, repressions and violations of human rights for the Tibetans. And now not only Tibet but also Hong Kong and Taiwan are also suffering from Chinese repressions, Wangchen said.

Lenience for ex-troops convicted for spying for Russia shown

The Court of Appeal of Lithuania on Tuesday, October 8, softened the punishment for two former troops found guilty of spying for Russia. Siauliai Regional Court earlier issued prison sentences of four years and nine months to Jurijus Mironovas and Kazimieras Rupšys but the Court of Appeal reduced the sentences to four years for Mironovas and to four years and six months for Rupšys. Judge Justas Numavičius of the Court of Appeal said the sentences were reduced after the court annulled the part of the regional court’s ruling that the convicts acted in an organised group.

Lithuania proposes to re-elect Leinarte to UN body

Lithuania proposes that Dalia Leinarte, professor at Vytautas Magnus University, be re-elected to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW.) Leinarte was first elected to CEDAW in 2012 and was approved for a second term in 2016. She became the committee’s vice-chairperson in 2015, and served as its chairperson between 2017 and 2018. In 2018, Apolitical, a global network of public servants, named her as one of the 100 most influential people in gender policy around the world.

Ministry moves to raise excise duties, expand property taxation

The Lithuanian Finance proposes to raise excise duties on strong alcohol, tobacco and fuel, and expand the taxation of households’ non-commercial real estate in a move that is expected to bring an additional 61.5 million euros into the state’s coffers next year.

Keywords: LGBTQ Lithuania taxes

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COVID-19 prompts Latvian government to involve army in border patrol with Belarus

Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks has issued an order for Latvian National Armed Forces (NBS) to provide support to the State Border Guard by sending national guardsmen to organize additional patrolling of the Latvian-Belarusian border, as confirmed by the minister.

Lithuania puts COVID-19-related prosecution above human rights

What should come first in a time of emergency like the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? Obviously, order, but what about human rights?

Idleness rules will apply to companies with tax debts in Latvia

The idleness regulations in Latvia will apply to companies with tax debts, as provided by amendments to Latvian government rules approved on Thursday, 2 April, to rules on companies affected by COVID-19 and who qualify for idleness support and other benefits.

Court to enforce nearly 12 000 euros from Gobzems for defaming Bunkus family

Riga City Vidzeme Suburb Court has partially satisfied the plea from the surviving members of the family of the murdered lawyer Mārtiņš Bunkus against Saeima deputy Aldis Gobzems over defamation. The court has decided to enforce EUR 11 833 from him, as confirmed from the deputy.

Spain registers unprecedented job loss as lethal cases of COVID-19 exceed 10 000

In Spain, nearly 900,000 jobs have been lost since mid-March during strict measures to fight the coronavirus. 10,000 Spaniards have died from the virus disease, BBC reports.

Emīls Jakrins becomes board chairman of restaurant business company Vincents

Ex-Riga City Council’s Transport Department’s head Emīls Jakrins has become board chairman of architecture, design and restaurant business company LLC Vincents, according to information from

Jānis Vitenbergs approved in Latvia’s Economy Minister's post

On Thursday, 2 April, Latvia’s Saeima approved parliamentarian Jānis Vitenbergs as the country’s economy minister.

Large mine closes in Estonia after one of 800 miners tested positive for COVID-19

In Estonia, it has been decided to close one of two large oil shale mines after one miner tested positive for COVID-19, Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports.

COVID-19 update in Baltics. 458 cases in Latvia, 649 in Lithuania, 858 in Estonia

The number of confirmed COVID-19 infection cases in Latvia has reached 458, growing by 12 cases in the past day. Meanwhile, Lithuanian media report 649 confirmed coronavirus infection cases.

Germany to keep gathering restrictions past Easter

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the situation with the outbreak of COVID-19 in Germany is far from being over as the government extended its strict rules for gathering in public places until April 19, DW reports.

Shuttle buses and express buses on hold in Riga

LLC Rīgas mikroautobusu satiksme has decided to shut down shuttle bus services on all routes in Riga until the state of emergency in Latvia is over, as confirmed by RMS.

Latvian government to finance COVID-19 crisis prevention efforts from state budget

Efforts to overcome the direct negative effects from COVID-10 crisis will be financed from the state budget. After the crisis, however, the economy will be stimulated using EU funds, as decided by Finance Minister Jānis Reirs’ led work group for support of entrepreneurship and the employed on Wednesday, 1 April.

EU planning lending programme to support temporary work schemes

EU member states would guarantee the creation of a fund up to 100 billion euros aimed at providing loans to governments to support workers in countries hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission plans, according to EurActiv.

Minister: repatriation efforts may be restarted mid-April

Repatriation efforts may be restarted in the middle of April, said Latvia’s Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits on 1 April at a conference of Latvian municipalities on public transport and traffic during a state of emergency.

Saeima committee supports writing off debts left from 2008 crisis

On Wednesday, 1 April, Latvian Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee conceptually supported during a remote meeting the proposal to allow credit institutions to one-sidedly write off debts for mortgage loans taken prior to the 2008 economic crisis, as reported by Saeima press-service.

Belarus introduces ban on buckwheat exports

Belarusian government has prohibited temporarily the export of buckwheat and other staple foods, state news agency BelTA reported.

Moscow tests app for tracking infected people required to self-isolate

In Moscow, where a lockdown has been in place since the beginning of the week, a new smartphone app is being developed and tested aimed at ensuring that patients with mild symptoms adhere to their contract of self-isolation, Russian state news agency TASS reports.

Multiple of Nature Protection Office’s duties delegated to the State Environment Service

Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry issued an order on 30 March to delegate multiple duties of the Nature Protection Office to the State Environment Service, according to information from LETA.

Latvian State Employment Agency received notifications for numerous planned lay-offs

Latvia’s State Employment Agency has received notification about planned lay-offs of 3 258 employees of 19 companies.

1 April onward entry to Jurmala by car will not be allowed without paying 2 euro fee

Wednesday, 1 April, marks the beginning of the the season when entry to Jurmala by car will require a 2 euro fee, as reported by Jurmala City Council.

Estonia looking at mass tests’ option to determine latency of COVID-19

The Estonian government has set itself the goal of mass tests of COVID-19 in the society, its Foreign Minister has revealed as the worst-hit Baltic country is looking at ways to overcome the outbreak, Estonian public broadcaster reports.

COVID-19 update in Baltic. 446 in Latvia, 581 in Lithuania, 779 in Estonia

The number of confirmed COVID-19 infection cases in Latvia has reached 446. Meanwhile, Lithuanian media report 581 cases.

Countries rush to support production of lung ventilators, essential amid pandemic

Governments and medical institutions in the world seek to acquire many lung ventilators that can save lives in severe cases of the COVID-19 disease. France and Israel have made recent announcements in this respect, German public broadcaster DW reports.

Public catering companies to adopt new hygiene requirements as of 1 April

Latvia’s Agriculture Ministry has expanded requirements for public catering and retail trade companies, BNN was told by the ministry.

At least 26 healthcare workers in Latvia confirmed infected with COVID-19

At least 26 healthcare workers in Latvia have been infected with COVID-19, according to information reported by the Disease Prevention and Monitoring Centre expert Jurijs Perevoščikovs.

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