Lietuva in brief - 2008-07-23

  • 2008-07-23
Argentina's Lithuanian community have applauded the Lithuanian president's move to veto changes to the citizenship law allowing dual citizenship to Lithuanians living in member states of the European Union and NATO. Juozas Brazaitis, head of the organization uniting scores of Lithuanian communities in Argentina, said that Lithuanians living in South America are insulted by the attitude of some Lithuanian politicians and lawyers. He said it was not right to treat the Lithuanian communities differently from those in EU and NATO countries. The president expressed hopes that all legal obstacles would be removed in the nearest future to ensure that Lithuanians living in exile are able to receive the citizenship of their country of residence, as well as Lithuanian citizenship. About 200,000 people of Lithuanian origin currently reside in Argentina.

Traffic violations are the biggest threat to the people of Lithuania, a poll concluded. Police were polled and cited other major threats to include juvenile delinquency and crimes of violence. 31 percent of respondents believe that violations of traffic rules in their residential areas are an enormous hazard. This indicated a rise of 8 percent since last year. The survey showed that 54 percent of those polled view juvenile delinquency as a very big threat to Lithuania. Thefts were indicated as the most threatening type of crime last year. The poll was carried out by the joint Lithuanian-British market and public opinion research company Baltijos Tyrimai (Baltic Surveys).

Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas claimed he has convinced Latvians that a power link with Sweden should start at Lithuania's coast. Latvia was disputing the location of a Swedlink power bridge. However, Lithuania managed to prove that the location specified in its project, which is close to the crude terminal of Butinge, was suitable. The 350 kilometres long 700-1,000 MW power link is set to be laid across the Baltic Sea.

The Vilnius municipal government has authorized the demolition of Lietuva cinema building. The historic cinema will be replaced by a new apartment complex instead. Opponents expressed their disagreement by calling it a 'land fraud.' They argued that Lietuva is one of the last cinemas in Lithuania that is located in town center, so it should be protected. The opponents' leader, Sarunas Bagdonas, said that the council's decision proved that authority does not care about what a community's priority is. He also added that Lietuva's building is a big loss just before Vilnius becomes Culture Capital of Europe.

Lithuanians living abroad will no longer have to struggle to reach the nearest embassy or consulate during the upcoming parliamentary elections. Special polling stations will be set up in locations with large Lithuanian populations. The central electoral committee and the foreign ministry plan additional polling stations to enable Lithuanian citizens living abroad to cast their votes in the October 12 elections. Zenonas Vaigauskas, chairman of the central electoral committee, said that additional polling stations would be opened for Lithuanians in a number of  foreign countries including  the U.K, Ireland and Spain. 

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas is attending a meeting of the European Union's (EU) General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels that will focus on EU-Ukrainian cooperation. During the meeting foreign ministers will evaluate the perspectives of EU relations with Ukraine. They will consider the ongoing negotiations on a new agreement between the EU and Ukraine to replace the 1997 treaty of partnership and cooperation. According to the press release, the agenda of the Brussels meeting also includes the situation in Georgia and ways of EU contribution to the regulation of the conflict.