Archive for February, 2010
This morning the Lithuanian media reported that one more minister might submit a resignation letter to the Prime Minister Kubilius. The Minister concerned is Algis Caplikas, from the Centre and Liberal Party, who is heading the Ministry of Health. However, the Minister will stay, at least for the time being.
The reason for his resignation was a ‘political responsibility’ after former Vice Minister of Health Mr Arturas Skikas. The former Vice Minister was sentenced for two years of conditional sentence postponing its enactment for a two-year period on 5 February for taking a bribe. Mr Skikas, then the Vice Minster, demanded a 20.000 to 30.000 LTL bribe from the National Blood Centre Director.
The Lithuania’s protocol is in touch with the Estonian protocol to pick their brains on organising the Presidential funeral, the editor of magazine Kelias, Mr Rytas Staselis wrote in his blog on 7 February. It appears that the Lithuanian protocol is getting ready for death of one of the most prominent Lithuania’s politicians Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas, who has been in intensive care for almost a month.
According to the editor he learned about this news from a businessman. Mr Staselis also called to his friends in Estonia to confirm this and got a positive response. According to Mr Staselis Tallinn received an official request from Vilnius and is still undecided how to react in the case of need. The editor makes an assumption that the Estonian protocol would send a team to help organise the funeral in Lithuania. Estonia’s President Lennart Meri is the first Baltic President, who passed away in 14 March 2006.
Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite announced on 5 February that she is going to meet the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Finland next week.
According to her, the initiative for the meeting came from Kremlin. Grybauskaite said to the reporters today, “At Putin’s request, we agreed to such meeting.” The Lithuanian president and the Russian Prime Minister will participate on the meeting of the leaders of the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea.
Grybauskaite was asked if during the meeting she will raise a question to Putin about a statement made in 29 January by the Russia’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson in which he declared that Independent Lithuania did not exist in January 13 1991, when the Soviet military killed 14 civilians and injured hundreds injured. Grybauskaite answered, ‘I think that this statement is a misunderstanding.’ She added, ‘Why should I raise this question. I know that Lithuania did exist then. I don’t have any questions about this question.’
In the last two months Lithuanian political scene have witnessed birth of two new political parties. Even though the Lithuanian People’s Party claims to represent the centre left, and the Lithuania’s Christian Party planning to be a voice of the centre right, they have more similarities than differences.
Let us start with differences, since there are only few of them. One of them was mentioned above. Another is that the People’s Party declared that it will be openly pro Russian party. The Christians declared that they would aspire to the Scandinavian values.
Other fundamental difference between the parties is that the People’s party is not a Parliamentary party but Christians Party is. The Christian Party already have twelve MPs in their political faction already. How is it possible when a newly elected party, which is not officially registered yet have a rather significant number of MPs?
The answer is a very simple one. The United (One) Lithuania political faction had twelve MPs in the Parliament, but they did not have a party structure to represent them in Lithuania. This happened after the Show Stars party calling itself Lithuania’s Insurrection Party has swept into the parliament during the last elections. The party not only had almost twenty MPs, but the newly formed party joined the ruling coalition, and their leader Arunas Valinskas managed to get the second most important post in Lithuania, that of Seimas’ Speaker. However, soon the group of friends gradually realised that to work together in the parliament is different than party together.
It took them even a half of year to come to a conclusion that they cannot be together any longer and the political Insurrection faction split. Seven MPs, loyal to Mr Valinskas, the leader of the party has left the faction and formed an Oak Faction hopping that the majority of the former partying mates will join them. However, this did not happen, and those who staid in the Insurrection faction decided to name themselves the United Lithuania Faction. Before that, the Insurrection party presidium expelled from the party few of their colleagues who rebelled against Mr Valinskas.
The Lithuania’s Ministry of Finance announced that Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Ratings Services has revised its outlook on Lithuania by increasing it from negative to stable. The agency also declared that Lithuania’s Long Term local and foreign currency sovereign credit rating is at BBB and is Short Term rating is at A-3.This increase of ratings is due to the Cabinet’s successful budget cuts and Lithuania’s strong political will to keep its currency stable.
In the press release issued by the S&P its analyst Frank Gill said “The ratings on Lithuania reflect clear commitment across all political parties to support and implement budgetary and structural policies which anchor the currency board regime and enhance the economy’s flexible labor and goods markets”. He also added by saying, “While the resulting unemployment and deflation of nominal income are weighing on tax collection, the process should ultimately result in a stabilization of national income as net exports stimulate growth”.
This fantastic news to Lithuania, which has experienced an unprecedented drop of its GDP in 2009. According to the latest report from the Statistics Department Lithuania’s GDP in 2009 contracted by 15 pct. However, the Lithuanian GDP grew in the last two consequent quarters even though only by 0,1 pct in the last quarter of 2009.
Continuing his working visit to the U.S., Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius visited Silicon Valley, San Francisco, where he met with one of the most powerful groups in the IT sector, i.e. members of major Venture Capital Association Accel Partners and other IT investors. Accel Partners and associated investors hold many well-known IT companies, including MySpace, Walmart.com, Macromedia, etc. Henri Mossinac, who had invested in Facebook at its rudimentary stage, was also present.
Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius invited investors to turn an eye to Lithuania, a country that boasts highly skilled multilingual workforce and one of the best IT infrastructures in Europe and the world. According to the Prime Minister, Lithuania is an ideal place for venture capital to invest, as this is about the “investment in courage, and the Lithuanian IT sector is full of bold ideas”.
Investors got interested in the list of promising Lithuanian IT companies, drawn by the Lithuanian government.
The participants of the meeting included Ilja Laurs, founder and CEO of GetJar, the only Lithuanian capital company with the head office in the Silicon Valley. GetJar has grown into a world`s largest independent mobile apps store following the investment by Rich Wong from Accel Partners.
“Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius’s visit is very important in terms of Lithuania`s image building. The information American companies have about our country is scarce. Therefore, every opportunity must be seized to increase investor awareness about investment opportunities in Lithuania, and to offer an individual and flexible approach in each investment case. I am certain that the Prime Minister’s visit will yield tangible results”, – said Ilja Laurs.
Lithuania’s Public Television announced that Latvia agreed to host the Guantanamo detainee, who is originally from one of the Central Asian Republics. Lithuania, who promised to host a several detainees from Guantanamo, has changed its mind.
The Public Television informed that the President Grybauskaite has already decided not to host the detainees already back in October of 2009.