Lietuva in brief - 2009-07-01

  • 2009-07-01
President Valdas Adamkus accepted the resignation of Finance Minister Algirdas Semeta on June 30, temporarily entrusting his duties to the Minister of Economy Dainius Kreivys. As TBT previously reported, Semeta was nominated as the candidate to replace Dalia Grybauskaite in the European Commission. In the European Commission, Semeta will be responsible for financial programming and budget. Kreivys will serve the duties as the finance minister before appointment of the new minister. Lithuanian politicians have pointed to Finance Ministry Undersecretary Ingrida Simonyte as most likely candidate.

Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said on June 30 that if Seimas (the Lithuanian parliament) refuses to reduce salaries of public servants, pensions will have to be reduced. The government had drafted a law that established significant salary cuts for politicians (including MPs), judges, public servants, and state officials from July 31. Seimas refused to adopt the law and brought it back to the government for improvement. "We will present the improved draft and I believe that Seimas will approve it. Otherwise Seimas should understand what this means, that we have to reduce pensions precisely because Seimas refuses to lower the salaries of their own, politicians and other officials," said the prime minister.

Three Lithuanian pentathletes 's Justinas Kinderis, Andrejus Zadneprovskis and Edvinas Krungolcas 's have won gold in the European championship, ELTA reported. The new European champions in team competition were followed by the Czech team, which took second place, and a Belarusian team, which took third place.

The Lithuanian government has drafted a law on restitution of compensation to the Jewish community, which establishes that Lithuania must compensate 113 million litas (32.73 million euros) to the Jewish community in 2013. However, Rabbi Andrew Baker, Director of International Jewish Affairs for the American Jewish Committee, said on June 26 that the law should be implemented immediately and all damage should be compensated, not a third of it. "Of course, the question on Jewish property restitution is longstanding, but we agree to postpone the payment for a year due to the economic crisis" said Simonas Alperavicius, head of the Lithuanian Jewish community. Kubilius said the compensation is necessary to bring justice, but compensation of full value price is not practiced in Lithuania.

Lithuanian Parliament has approved consideration of a law setting a new ceiling for maternity leave benefits. A total of 87 million litas (25 million euros) will be saved in 2010, if the ceiling is decreased from 7,440 to 3,720 litas. Thus, after taxes, the maximum maternity benefit would reach 2,820 litas. Even though Social Security and Labor Minister Rimantas Dagys said this benefits cut will be treated as a state debt and will be returned from 2012-2014, the decision has caused protests among the parenting community. The preliminary date for deliberation of the law in Seimas is July 9.