Russian businessman loses residence permit, the budget of 2023 on the way, and Lithuanian company starts grain export to Iraq, being the first one in Baltics to do so.
Seimas to vote on the 2023 budget next week
The Seimas, the Lithuanian parliament, decided to hold its final vote on the central government’s 2023 budget on the 22nd of November after debating the revised draft plan. Finance Minister Gintarė Skaistė said the main budget priorities remained unchanged. She said that the government had rejected most of MP’s requests for additional budget spending, worth around 1,3 billion euros in total. The 2023 budget deficit target remains unchanged at 4,9 percent, according to the minister.
The government has revised its estimate of budget expenditure for subsidising households’ natural gas and electricity bills down to 98 million euros but forecasts that municipalities will need around 16 million euros more than earlier planned to cover part of heating bills for eligible households.
According to Skaistė, the central government will lose an estimated 24 million euros in annual budget revenue due to the reduced VAT rate for the accommodation sector, and the extension of the VAT cut for restaurants and other food-serving businesses until next July will cost it almost 60 million euros.
Russian businessman’s residence permit rescinded
Russian businessman Sergey Ivashkovsky has had his residence permit in Lithuania revoked, the country’s Migration Department announced on Thursday, the 17th of November. The LRT news website was the first to report the news. Reportedly, while already having a Lithuanian residence permit, Ivashkovsky attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, an important event for Russian President Vladimir Putin, during the Russian-started war in Ukraine. The website also points out that Ivashkovsky has held senior positions within Russian companies Gazprombank and Rosnano.
Lithuania to use extra defence funds to buy arms
After the Lithuanian government announced that the 2023 budget allows the government to borrow funds to increase defence spending up to 3 percent of GDP, Defence Minister Arvydas Anušauskas said on Thursday, the 17th of November, the money would be used to purchase weapons and ammunition. Anušauskas said that some of the money would also be used for the construction of warehouses, including those needed to host Germany’s brigade. The Cabinet earlier this week revised its draft 2023 budget, among other things, to allow raising defence spending up to 3 percent of GDP through borrowed funds. The original draft budget set the defence spending target at 2,52 percent of GDP.
Lithuania becomes a member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee
Lithuania on Wednesday, 16th of November, became a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), the Foreign Ministry said. Lithuania became the 31st member after the committee approved the country’s membership. Attending the meeting, Rolandas Kriščiūnas the first deputy chancellor of the Lithuanian government, represented Lithuania’s vision of development cooperation policy, achieved and underlined Lithuania’s ambition to contribute even more actively to the implementation of sustainable development goals and to invest in a sustainable future.
Interior minister seeks extension of the state of emergency
Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė said on Wednesday, 16th of November, that the existing state of emergency should be further extended. The state of emergency was introduced in Lithuania on 24th of February, after Russia launched its war against Ukraine, and has been extended twice already. The last time the state of emergency was extended, in September, the legal regime was imposed on the borders with Russia and Belarus and at border checkpoints, rather than nationwide, and the entry of Russian citizens into the country was restricted. Bilotaitė also said that her ministry might suggest additional measures along with its proposal to extend the regime, but she gave no details.
Seimas foreign affairs committee elects Pavilionis as its chairman
Lithuania’s parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, November 16, elected MP Žygimantas Pavilionis of the ruling conservative Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats as its chairman.
If the full Seimas gives the green light for Pavilionis to return to the post he left less than a year ago, he will replace Laima Liucija Andrikienė, who is stepping down to work as the Lithuanian member of the European Court of Auditors.
Pavilionis resigned as the committee’s chairman early this year after calls by his fellow conservative MPs for him to do so following his public criticism of the government over its failure to suspend the transit of Belaruskali fertilisers via Lithuania despite US sanctions against the Belarusian company. Pavilionis told journalists on Tuesday, 15th of November, that he had learned his lesson that disagreements among party members if any occur, should not be dealt with in public. Gabrielius Landsbergis, the Homeland Union’s chairman, said that both sides had learned their lessons.
Agrokocerno Grūdai to export wheat to Iraq
Lithuania’s Agrokocerno Grūdai, a subsidiary of Agrokoncernas, a group of agricultural and wholesale companies controlled by Ramunas Karbauskis, is set to export wheat to Iraq. Some 50 000 tons of Lithuanian wheat on Tuesday, 15th of November, started to be loaded onto a ship to be transported to the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, the company said in a press release. Agrokocerno Grūdai CEO Karolis Simas says another market, which has so far been dominated by wheat from the US, Australia and Canada, has opened up for Lithuania. Agrokoncerno Grūdai is the first company from the Baltic region to export grain to Iraq, according to the CEO.
PM proposes to compensate Jews for expropriated private property
As the Lithuanian state is about to complete paying compensation to Jews for their communal property expropriated in the 20th century, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė proposed on Monday, 14th of November, to allocate the same amount of money to compensate them for their expropriated private property. This is provided for in a draft new wording of the Law on Good Will Compensation for the Immovable Property of Jewish Religious Communities. Under the existing law, which was adopted in 2011, Lithuania committed itself to pay over 37 million euros over a decade in compensation for the property of Jewish communities expropriated by totalitarian regimes.
In the new bill, initiated by the PM, the government is adding a provision that compensation will also be paid for the property of persons of Jewish nationality who lived in Lithuania before or during World War II.
The draft law provides for allocating an additional 37 million euros for this purpose. The bill sets 31st of December, 2023 as the deadline for affected individuals or their heirs claiming individual compensation to submit an application and supporting documents to the foundation.
Lithuania to receive 2,5 billion euro after EP, Council agree on 2023 budget
The European Parliament and the Council on Monday, 14th of November, agreed on the European Union’s 2023 budget which includes payments worth 168,6 billion euros. Lithuania is set to receive around 2,5 billion euros in payments, and the country’s contribution to the EU budget is expected to reach around 666 million euros. In 2023, Lithuania expects to receive around 1,1 billion euros from EU cohesion policy funds, 0,9 billion euros from EU common agricultural policy funds, 347 million euros for the implementation of major infrastructure network projects, and 60 million euros for the closure of the Ignalina NPP.