Lietuva in brief - 2006-11-29

  • 2006-11-29
Impeached president Rolandas Paksas will likely retain his right to be elected member of the municipal council in the upcoming elections, scheduled for February. On Nov. 28, Parliament removed a clause in the law on municipal elections, providing that officials who were removed from their positions by impeachment cannot be elected as municipality council members. Forty-seven legislators in the 141-member Parliament supported the initiative to remove the clause, seven voted against it and 13 abstained. The law would also allow Paksas to become a mayor if his party wins a majority in the local elections.

A Lithuanian Sunday school has been opened in Gandia, Spain - the 10th now in the country. There are close to 100,000 living in Spain, some 2,000 of which are settled in Gandia. Approximately 60 children will attend the new school. Since 1991, when the Baltic state restored its independence from the Soviet Union, more than 300,000 Lithuanians have left their homeland.

Diplomat Viktorija Smatko will become the third Lithuanian to take a high management position at the European Commission. Smatko, who currently works for the United Nations in Vienna, will head the audit, control and evaluation directorate at the Directorate General for employment, social affairs and equal opportunities. The Lithuanian earned the position in an open competition for citizens of the 10 new European Union members.

The government will consider granting asylum to six refugees from Malta. To do so, Parliament must adopt a resolution that will allow the emigrants, who arrived earlier this year, asylum. Lithuania is aiming to help the EU solve the problem of immigration in Malta, where close to 1,000 refugees arrived this year. The number makes up a relatively high share of the country's 400,000-some population, and therefore Malta asked EU member states to assist in solving the problem by accepting asylum seekers.

Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas paid a one-day working visit to Sweden on Nov. 27. Kirkilas met with his Swedish counterpart, Prime Minister Fredrik Reindfeldt, Parliamentary Speaker Per Westerberg and representatives of parliamentary groups to address bilateral relations, cooperation between Nordic and Baltic states, European Union enlargement, energy matters and ties with Eastern neighbors. The Lithuanian PM also met with the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaff.

President Valdas Adamkus attended the World Economic Forum in Istanbul on Nov. 23. In addition to Adamkus, speakers at the plenary session on Turkey's bid to join the European Union included EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, among other officials and business figures. The forum is one of the world's most influential international non-governmental organizations analyzing economic processes. The forum's council includes representatives of the world's largest companies, deciding investment policy for certain regions. The forum prepares an annual competitive analysis of individual countries, which is highly appreciated by large business. The forum has been lately focusing on energy safety.