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Wednesday 08.04.2020 | Name days: Dana, Dans, Danute, Edgars

Week in Lithuania: Transport Minister breached law, Vilnius University elects new rector, Polish bank invited

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Deividas Matulionis, Lithuania, NATO, Vilnius, Kęstutis Pukas, Jaroslav Narkevič

Lithuanian Transport Minister Jaroslav Narkevič

In Lithuania, the top news stories were Transport Minister being found guilty over the violation of law, President Nausėda inviting Poland’s Pekao bank to Lithuania and Vilnius launching its ecological initiative.

Minister opines on political prosecution

Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevičius has called this week on the European Union to improve its existing legislation or to adopt new legal acts to ensure that the bloc’s citizens are protected from political prosecution by third countries. Jankevičius put forward the proposal at an informal meeting of EU justice and interior ministers in Zagreb, the Lithuanian Justice Ministry said on Thursday, January 23.

President’s aide: Japan interested in Lithuanian projects

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) is interested in providing financing for the Rail Baltica European-gauge railway project and the Baltic power grids’ synchronisation with the Western European system, an advisor to Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said on Thursday, January 23. Nausėda and JBIC Governor Tadashi Maeda discussed such possibilities during their meeting in Davos, according to Simonas Krėpšta.

Lithuanian Poles’ party leader exasperated

MEP Valdemar Tomaševski, the leader of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania–Christian Families Alliance (EAPL-CFA), described on Thursday, January 23, the opposition’s impeachment initiative against MP Irina Rozova as a political move aimed at sowing divisions within the ruling bloc. Opposition members of the parliament’s Committee on National Security and Defence (CNSD) initiated impeachment proceedings against Rozova, a member of the EAPL-CFA political group in the Seimas, over her allegedly concealed ties with Russian diplomats.

Nausėda invites Poland’s Pekao bank to Lithuania

President Gitanas Nausėda has invited this week Poland’s Pekao bank to start its business in Lithuania after discussing the issue with the Polish bank’s CEO Marek Lusztyn in Davos, an adviser said. In his words, the meeting discussed a possibility for Pekao representatives to come to Lithuania to assess the existing market situation. Lithuania’s banking sector is one of the most concentrated in the EU, with three major banks, including Swedbank, SEB and Luminor controlling four fifths of the market.

New Novatek LNG cargo arrives in Klaipeda

A new cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia’s Novatek arrived in the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda on Wednesday, January 22, marking the 16th such delivery in the new gas year that started last October. The Coral Fungia tanker delivered around 10,000 cubic meters of LNG.

Vilnius University’s rector-elect reflects on priorities

Vilnius University’s rector-elect historian Rimvydas Petrauskas vowed this week to pursue the university’s greater leadership in speaking with the country’s leaders and other politicians “on the real priority of science and studies”. Petrauskas, dean of Vilnius University’s Faculty of History, was on Wednesday elected rector of Vilnius University, the oldest and biggest university in Lithuania. He was elected for a five-year term by the university’s council which considered six candidates.

Vilnius’s ecological initiative

Single-use plastic tableware will no longer be used during festivities in Vilnius, the local council decided on Wednesday, January 22, backing a change to the existing rules on public trading places. The decision will come into force in early March.

Turkish company appeal Kaunas decision

Turkish construction company Kayi Insaat has appealed this week against the decision by the authorities of Kaunas, Lithuania’s second-largest city, to terminate its contract on the construction of the Darius and Girėnas Stadium. According to the municipality, the Turkish company had promised to bring 400 workers and a majority of construction equipment but has no such workforce so far and has rented equipment from Lithuanian subcontractors.

Establishment of EU civil protection centre discussed

The Lithuanian government on Wednesday, January 22, endorsed plans for the country to submit an application for the establishment of a regional EU civil protection centre in the country that would cover the Nordic and Baltic countries. Lithuanian will try to convince the EU of the necessity of such a centre in the country as Belarus is getting ready for the launch of the Astravyets nuclear power plant.

Schengen, national visa fees to go up

The Lithuanian government on Wednesday, January 22, backed the increase of fees for obtaining Schengen and national visas. The consular fee for processing national visas applications will double from 60 to 120 euros. The decision was made taking into account the time a consular officer needs to accept and process applications for national visas, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said after submitting the bills. The Lithuanian government also decided to increase the Schengen visa fee from 60 to 80 euros.

Lithuania’s new NATO ambassador

Lithuania’s government on Wednesday, January 22, backed the appointment of Deputy Government Chancellor Deividas Matulionis as Lithuania’s permanent representative to NATO. If approved by and president, Matulionis would assume his new position on April 20. He was backed by the parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs in late December.

Court takes on ex-MP’s sexual harassment case

The Lithuanian Supreme Court (LAT) started on Wednesday, January 22, hearing a case in which former Lithuanian MP Kęstutis Pukas was charged with sexual harassment. Lower-instance courts found Pukas guilty of sexually harassing a woman who worked as his assistant when he was an MP, but acquitted him on charges of harassment against three other young women who sought the job of secretary-assistant.

VTEK: Lithuanian transport minister breached law

Transport Minister Jaroslav Narkevič breached the law by allowing enterprises under his ministry’s control to pay for his lunch, the Chief Official Ethics Commission (VTEK) ruled on Wednesday, January 22. Narkevič says the violation is minor and will consider contesting the ethics watchdog’s decision in court.

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Latvian government supports dismissal of State Land Service’s director general

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China lifts lockdown in Wuhan

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Support in Latvia for COVID-19 crisis prevention reaches four billion euros

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Another month stuck home. Latvian government extends state of emergency

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75 reports on competition distortions reported to Competition Council in 2019

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Australia quashes child abuse convictions against cardinal Pell

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Education and Science Ministry considers not cancelling centralized exams

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Estonian government in two minds on cutting public spending to help economy

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Riga International Airport plans to lay off 500 employees

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Poland planning to hold presidential election as postal ballot

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Latvian president urges not to sort idleness benefit recipients based on tax debts

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British PM Johnson treated from COVID-19 in intensive care

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Riga City Council snap elections pushed back to 5 September

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US death toll of COVID-19 nears 11 000

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Prime Minister says Latvia will neither enhance nor relieve restrictions

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Spanish coronavirus death toll drops for fourth day in a row

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Recovery from COVID-19 confirmed for 16 people in Latvia

So far 16 people in Latvia have made a successful recovery from COVID-19, as reported by Latvian Disease Prevention and Monitoring Centre (SPKC) Infectious Diseases Risk Analysis and Prevention Department director Jurijs Perevoščikovs at a press-conference on Monday, 6 April.

Kilometre-long freight train from China to pass through Latvia this week

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Design work commences across the entire Rail Baltica route in Latvia

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Meduza: Head of Russian doctors’ organisation arrested during delivery of protective equipment to hospitals

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