LITHUANIA DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
IN THIS ISSUE:
- Upcoming events in Lithuania for Monday, October 24, 2022
- Belgian royal couple starting state visit to Lithuania
- Lithuanian PM congratulates Italy's new PM, calls for united support for Ukraine
- Lithuanian parlt speaker receives Ukrainian state award
- Lithuania reports 38 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths
- Foreign minister calls on Lithuanian diplomats, diaspora leaders to strengthen ties
- Lithuanian interior minister to discuss migration challenges in Prague
- NATO jets scrambled 4 times last week to patrol Baltic airspace, intercept Russian planes
- President remains most popular politician in Lithuania, defmin 2nd
- Lithuanian SocDems top party rankings, conservatives in 2nd place – poll
- Up to 1,000 people attended Lithuanian Family Movement rally in Vilnius
- Gender Equality Index: Lithuania posts highest increase but remains in 20th place
- War in Ukraine, climate crisis must lead to greener energy – Belgian king in Vilnius
- Lithuanian, Georgian defmins condemn Russian aggression
- Upcoming events in Lithuania for Tuesday, October 25, 2022
VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – The following events are scheduled in Lithuania for Monday, October 24, 2022:
VISIT OF THE KING OF BELGIUM
King Philippe of Belgium and Queen Mathilde of Belgium to arrive in Vilnius at 1 p.m.; the monarchs to be officially welcomed at the Presidential Palace at 2 p.m., an official photograph will be taken and the guestbook will be signed; a meeting of the Lithuanian and Belgian delegations at the Presidential Palace at 2.50 p.m.; Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda and the King of Belgium's statements to the press at 3.40. p.m.; the King of Belgium to lay a wreath at the monument to those who died fighting for Lithuania's independence at Antakalnis Cemetery at 4 p.m.; President Gitanas Nauseda and First Lady Diana Nausedeiene to host a state dinner in honor of the visiting Belgian royal couple at 7 p.m.
PRESIDENT Gitanas Nauseda's interview for a Netflix documentary at 10.30 p.m.; to attend the official welcome ceremony for the King ad Queen of Belgium at the Presidential Palace at 2 p.m.; to receive the King of Belgium at 2.30 p.m.; a meeting of delegation of the Lithuanian and the King of Belgium at 2.50 p.m.; Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda and the King of Belgium's statements to the press at 3.40. p.m.; President Gitanas Nauseda and First Lady Diana Nausedeiene to host a state dinner in honor of the visiting Belgian royal couple at 7 p.m.
SPEAKER OF THE SEIMAS Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen to meet with Serhij Holovaty, president of Ukraine's Constitutional Court, at 11 a.m.; to attend a state dinner in honor of the visiting Belgian royal couple at 7 p.m.
NATIONAL DEFENSE MINISTER Arvydas Anuauskas to pay an official visit to Georgia.
EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND SPORT MINISTER Jurgita Siugzdiniene to attend a meeting of the rectors of Belgian and Lithuanian universities at 3.30 p.m.
FOREIGN MINISTER Gabrielius Landsbergis and the King of Belgium to lay a wreath at the monument to those who died fighting for Lithuania's independence Antakalnis Cemetery at 4 p.m.;
VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium on Monday are starting their three-day state visit to Lithuania with a meeting with President Gitanas Nauseda.
The Belgian monarch will later go to the capital's Antakalnis Cemetery to lay a wreath at the monument to those who died in the struggle for Lithuania's Independence.
On Tuesday, King Philippe, together with Nauseda, will attend a Lithuanian-Belgian business forum before visiting the Sunrise Valley Science and Technology Park.
The royal couple and the president and his wife, Diana Nausediene, will visit the Old Town of Vilnius and meet with students at Vilnius University.
On Wednesday, King Philippe and Nauseda are scheduled to visit Belgian troops at the Pabrade training area close to Vilnius.
The royal couple and the president and his wife are also scheduled to go to Kaunas, the 2022 European Capital of Culture, to see the city's Art Deco architectural heritage and visit the M. K. Ciurlionis National Museum of Art.
Queen Mathilde will focus on culture and social issues during her visit.
On Monday, the queen and Nausediene are to visit the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum.
On Wednesday, they are scheduled to meet with Ukrainian war refugees at a Ukrainian center in Vilnius, and to visit Pirmas Blynas, a restaurant in the Lithuanian capital that hires people with disabilities to help them integrate into society.
The monarchs will be presented with the Order of Vytautas the Great for their personal contribution to the development of relations between Lithuania and Belgium as well as political, economic and societal cooperation between the two countries.
VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte has congratulated Giorgia Meloni on becoming Italy's prime minister and called for united support for Ukraine.
"The Lithuanian government is ready to cooperate in strengthening the close and cordial partnership between our countries," she said in her message of congratulations published on Saturday.
"I hope that Lithuania and Italy, as well as other EU member states, will continue to stand united in our support for Ukraine as it defends its freedom and the freedom of other European countries."
According to Simonyte, the EU's consistent stance in tightening sanctions against Russia and Belarus is important to show that "Europe will not give in to the blackmail of the aggressor".
The Lithuanian prime minister also thanked Italy for its contribution to NATO's air policing mission and the Alliance's enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in the Baltic states.
Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni on Sunday took office as Italy's first woman prime minister,
By Milena Andrukaitytė
VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, the speaker of the Lithuanian parliament, has been awarded the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise of the second degree by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
"I see this award as an incentive to do even more for Ukraine's victory," Cmilyte-Nielsen said in a press release on Saturday.
The speaker of the Seimas received the award for her personal contribution to strengthening cooperation between the states, supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state and promoting Ukraine in the world, according to the Lithuanian parliament's public relations office.
By Milena Andrukaitytė
VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – Lithuania has recorded 38 new coronavirus infections and two deaths from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, official statistics showed on Monday morning.
Of the new cases, 32 were primary, five were secondary, and one was tertiary.
The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 now stands at 123, including seven ICU cases.
The 14-day primary infection rate has edged down to 286.1 cases per 100,000 people, with the seven-day percentage of positive tests down to 26.3 percent.
The daily number of new coronavirus cases remains well below the peak of over 14,000 reached in early February.
More than 1.2 million people in Lithuania have tested positive with COVID-19 at least once.
Some 70 percent of the Lithuanian population have received at least one coronavirus vaccine jab so far.
VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis called for strengthening "the bonds of identity" that bind together Lithuanians around the world as he welcomed participants of last weekend's meeting of Lithuanian diplomats and diaspora leaders in Germany.
"We, Lithuanians, understand better than anyone else the tragic nature of the events in Ukraine, because our own history has also been full of treacherous twists and turns," Landsbergis said in his welcoming message.
"Today, when we have to defend and strengthen Lithuania's statehood in the face of nuclear and energy blackmail, it is important to remember that the strength of our nation lies in unity. Therefore, it is necessary to bolster the bonds of identity that bind us all together," he said.
According to the Foreign Ministry, the meeting in Huettenfeld on October 21-23 brought together the heads of 23 Lithuanian diplomatic missions and consular offices and representatives of more than 20 diaspora organizations from 15 European countries.
Among other things, Landsbergis thanked the Lithuanian diaspora for their active support to Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression.
VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – Lithuanian Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite is taking part in a ministerial conference on migration challenges in Prague on Monday.
Participants of the conference are expected to approve a political declaration and an action plan for 2023-2027, the Lithuanian Interior Ministry has said in a press release.
The Prague Process is one of the four EU regional cooperation processes on migration.
According to the ministry, these processes help to focus on the common specificities of a given region, to identify common interests and consolidate efforts in response to common challenges, to strengthen cooperation on migration management, and to assist EU partners in bolstering their capacities.
The Prague Process brings together EU member states, associated Schengen countries, and countries from Southeastern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Following the launch of Belarus-orchestrated hybrid attacks against Latvia, Poland and Lithuania, and later Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Prague Process countries have distanced themselves from cooperation with Russia and Belarus.
VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – NATO's fighter jets were scrambled four times last week to patrol Baltic airspace and intercept Russian military aircraft flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea in violation of flight rules, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said on Monday.
NATO's jets took off twice, on October 17 and 18, to patrol along the Baltic airspace border with Russia and Belarus.
Two alert scrambles were conducted, on October 20 and 21, to intercept Russian SU-30 planes flying from Kaliningrad Region to mainland Russia and back.
Neither of the Russian aircraft used their onboard transponders, had pre-filed flight plans or maintained radio communication with the Regional Traffic Control Center.
The NATO Baltic air policing mission is carried out from air bases in Lithuania and Estonia.
VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS - President Gitanas Nauseda remains the most popular politician in Lithuania, followed by National Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas according to the latest opinion poll carried out by Vilmorus for the Lietuvos Rytas daily and published on Saturday.
Conducted on October 11-16, the survey revealed than 60.8 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion about Nauseda, up from 56 percent in September. Meanwhile, the share of negative opinions about the president remained unchanged over a month at 20.9 percent.
Anusauskas comes in second with 47.5 percent of positive opinions, up from 47.1 percent in September) and 27.4 percent (26 percent in September) of negative opinions, which is the minister's best results so far, Vladas Gaidys, head of Vilmous, pointed out,
In his words, the defense ministers rating has not been affected by the recent controversy over the deployment of a German brigade, as well as the accusations from opposition politicians that the minister might have disclosed secret information to his wife.
"That's Anusauskas' highest score. In fact, the poll took place last wee when the brigade issue was already being discussed, and we had the wife situation there, but those things did not hurt him," Gaidys told BNS.
Vilija Blinkeviciute, leader of the opposition Social Democratic Party of Lithuania, comes in third in terms of public popularity with 44.4 percent of positive opinions and 27 percent of negative ones, compared to 43.5 and 25.9 percent a month earlier respectively.
42.6 percent said they had a positive opinion about Remigijus Zemaitaitis, the leader of the Freedom and Justice party, compared to 42.3 percent in September, and 21.4 percent (25.2 percent in September) had a negative opinion about him.
Ex-Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, who now leads the opposition Democrats "For Lithuania" closed the TOP-5 with 37.3 percent of positive opinion and 36.5 percent of negative opinions, from 36.6 percent and 39.2 percent in September respectively.
By Milena Andrukaitytė
VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – The opposition Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP) tops the country's political party rankings, followed by the ruling Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats in second place, according to a Vilmorus poll published by the daily Lietuvos Rytas on Saturday.
Some 14.9 percent of respondents said in mid-October that they would vote for the LSDP if general elections were held next Sunday, up from 14 percent who said so in September.
The conservative Homeland Union came in second with 11 percent, down from 11.8 percent a month ago.
While the popularity of the opposition Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, at number three, increased slightly to 7.7 percent, from 7.3 percent, the opposition Democratic Union "For Lithuania", in fourth position, saw voter support edge down to 7.2 percent, from 7.7 percent.
"There are no major changes, with the Social Democrats and the Homeland Union remaining steadily in the lead," Vilmorus CEO Vladas Gaidys told BNS, commenting on the results of the poll.
"The second group, the Farmers and Greens and the Democratic Union, also have good results," he added.
The poll, commissioned by Lietuvos Rytas, found the Freedom and Justice Party, which has a representative in the parliament, at number five with 5.9 percent support, slightly up from 5.4 percent in September.
Vilmorus polled 1,002 residents of Lithuania between October 11 and 16.
By Milena Andrukaitytė
VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS - Up to 1,000 people gathered in central Vilnius on Saturday to attend a rally organized by the controversial Lithuanian Family Movement, with a stated goal of defending the values enshrined in the country's Constitution.
"We want to ensure the Constitution is not violated as now there are violations everywhere, the Lithuanian language is being humiliated, we have introduced the letters q and w, and they want to adopt a law on families-non-families. People should vote on such a law in a referendum, and not by the Seimas gathered from some corners. LGBT people are also climbing over people's heads," Vytautas, a 68-year-old construction worker from Siauliai District, told BNS.
On Saturday, he joined other people in the Cathedral Square in central Vilnius, carrying Lithuanian national and historical flags, regional flags and posters.
The Lithuanian Family Movement's website stated that rally participants would speak out against the Law on Civil Union, which is now being debated in the Seimas, as well as the government's policies in the face of the sharp increase in energy prices.
Vitolda Rackova, a spokeswoman for the Lithuanian Family Movement, said the people who joined the rally "are doing the work the opposition in the Seimas should be doing".
"We don't have that opposition today, that's why you are here, but don't forget to demand that they do their job," she said, addressing the people from a stage.
The rally was held under the protection of a large police force, with the Seimas and the government buildings fenced off.
Renaldas Zekonis, chief of the Vilnius County Chief Police Commissariat, said no incidents were recorded during the rally.
By Giedrius Gaidamavičius, Milena Andrukaitytė
VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS - Lithuania's gender equality score rose the most over a year, but the country remains in the same 20th place.
Lithuania scored 2.2 points higher than last year in the latest Gender Equality Index published by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), with an overall index score of 60.6.
Compared to other EU countries, Lithuania's score also increased the most. Despite this, Lithuania failed to move up in the index and lags behind the EU average of 68.6 out of a possible 100 points.
Lithuania's best score was in the area of work, where it scored 73.9 points and ranked 11th. This does not mean an improvement as the gender equality indicator in the area of work has even slightly decreased since 2019, Lithuania's Equal Opportunities ombudsman Birute Sabatauskaite said in a statement issued on Monday.
Lithuania's score in the area of knowledge went up by 1.5 points, mostly due to an improvement in the gender balance in higher and tertiary education.
Lithuania also scored higher in the area of power (up by 6.1 points), ranking 18th among EU member states. This change was driven by progress in the area political decision-making as this year, 42 percent of ministers and deputy ministers were women. At the highest level, however, equality is still very much lacking as women make 28 percent of lawmakers in Lithuanian, which is still below the EU average of 33 percent.
According to the report, EIGE data shows that Lithuania has a very pronounced gender gap in the area of money as women earned on average 11.1 percent less than men last year.
"Clearly, lower salaries also lead to lower pensions for women, which is reflected in poverty statistics. Last year, the poverty rate for women was 22.4 percent and 17.1 percent for men. Women aged 65 and over are the most deprived and make as much as 42 percent", B. Sabatauskaite said.
Last year 57 percent of Lithuanian women reported that they were taking care of their children alone or with little or no help from their partners or other persons, according to the EIGE data. The same was said by 13 percent of men.
Women were also more likely than men to provide long-term care for relatives with illnesses, disabilities or other special needs as 25 percent of women and 14 percent of men reported spending more than four hours a day doing so.
Housework was also the most common responsibility of women, with 70 percent of women and 8 percent of men stating that they did housework themselves. Sabatauskaite says the latest data shows that the pandemic further exacerbated gender inequalities that existed in the areas of housework and care.
Sweden (83.9 points), Denmark (77.8 points) and the Netherlands (77.3 points) scored the highest points in terms of gender equality, while Hungary (54.2 points), Romania (53.7 points) and Greece (53.4 points) were the bottom of the list.
VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS - The ongoing energy crisis caused by Russia's war in Ukraine and climate change must lead to greener energy, King of Belgium Philippe said in Vilnius on Monday.
"The war in Ukraine and climate emergency must encourage as to speed up the energy transition and depart from fossil fuel," he said at the Presidential Palace.
In response to the EU sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has restricted the flow of natural gas to Europe, pushing up fossil fuel prices on the market. The West accuses Moscow of using energy as an instrument of political pressure.
In a joint statement with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, the king stressed that Russia's war in Ukraine "has brought us into a new era, an era that reminds us of the darkest pages of our continent's history".
As a result, he said, the EU and the rest of the world are also under pressure, especially poorer countries where the cost of basic necessities has risen sharply.
The king of Belgium underlined that through their commitments, NATO countries are defending "the peace project the European Union was built on".
For his part, President Nauseda voiced his appreciation for Lithuanian-Belgian security cooperation. The two leaders plan to discuss defense in more detail on Wednesday in Pabrade where Belgian troops are serving within the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group.
Bilateral cooperation in the areas of science, technology, trade, energy and culture are also expected to be discussed during the royal visit.
VILNIUS, Oct 24, BNS – Lithuanian National Defense Arvydas Anusauskas met with his Georgian counterpart Juansher Burchuladze in Tbilisi on Monday and later issued a joint declaration condemning Moscow's aggression against Ukraine and Russia's occupation of part of Georgia's territory.
The ministers also discussed Russia's war against Ukraine and the need to fully support Ukraine, Lithuania's Ministry of National Defense said.
During the meeting, Anusauskas paid tribute to the 24 Georgians who fought and died fighting against Russian on Ukraine's side.
Georgia is one of the most important partners among Eastern Partnership countries and Lithuania fully supports Georgia's Euro-Atlantic integration and is ready to continue to cooperate with Georgia in the area of defense and boost its contribution to NATO programs, Anusauskas underlined.
"We support Georgia's path of Euro-Atlantic integration and fully contribute with our experience and expertise to bring Georgia's Armed Forces closer to the Euro-Atlantic standards," the Lithuanian minister was quoted as saying in the ministry's statement.
He also urged Georgia to continue its reforms.
In Tbilisi, Anusauskas also visited the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center. Lithuania will strengthen its contribution to NATO program in Georgia, Anusauskas said.
VILNIUS, Oct 25, BNS – The following events are scheduled in Lithuania for Tuesday, October 25, 2022:
VISIT OF THE KING OF BELGIUM
PRESIDENT Gitanas Nauseda and the king of Belgium to welcome participants of a business forum at 9 a.m.; the king of Belgium to visit the Sunrise Valley Science and Technology Park at 10 a.m.; the presidential and royal couple's tour of Vilnius Old Town and a visit to St. Michael's Church at 1.30 p.m.; the presidential and royal couple's meeting with students of Vilnius University at 3.10 p.m.; the king and queen of Belgium to host an event at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society at 7 p.m.
SPEAKER OF THE SEIMAS Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen to attend an international conference on the country's Constitution and transnational constitutionalism at 9 a.m.; to have lunch with the king queen of Belgium at 12.15 p.m.; to attend an event hosted by the king and queen of Belgium at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society at 7 p.m.
PRIME MINISTER Ingrida Simonyte to pay an official visit to Japan.
NATIONAL DEFENSE MINISTER Arvydas Anusauskas to continue his visit to Georgia.
INTERIOR MINISTER Agne Bilotaite to attend a ministerial conference on migrations, hosted by the Czech Republic which is now holding the rotating EU presidency.