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Lithuanian report Lithuanian report
by Euro Reporter
2012-01-25 07:41:53
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Lithuanian Seimas votes for big increase in private copying tax

The president approved the new regime on the condition that the government will immediately conduct monitoring of the existing law and ensure a clear and simple tax return system. The relevant provisions will come into force on March 1 2012. In 2003 Lithuania introduced a private copying tax for blank media and reprographic reproduction services. Since then the Ministry of Culture, which is responsible for copyright protection policy, has made several unsuccessful attempts to modify the system in order to incorporate new technological developments and increase revenue.

The amounts raised in Lithuania have been low in comparison with those in other EU countries. From 2006 to 2008, on average, the private copying tax rose around EUR 350,600 and the reprographic reproduction tax raised around EUR 18,000. The proponents of the new law considered that this did not represent fair compensation under Article 5(2) (a) (b) of the EU Information Society Directive (2001/29/EC) and contradicted the three-step test in Article 2(5). The ministry's previous proposals were generally blocked at government level, as was the case with the Bill on Copyright and Related Rights (957-01), which was drafted in 2009 but was never debated in Parliament. However, on this occasion the creative industries found parliamentary support. A near-identical proposal was submitted on April 30 2010 and was finally adopted on December 21 2011.

The new law imposes the tax on blank analogue and digital media, including all types of CD, minidisc, Bleu-Ray disc, memory card, universal serial bus chip, solid-state drive disk and hard drive disk. However, it also covers personal reproduction devices with memory and recording functions (e.g., CD and DVD-burning devices, home theatre equipment, MP3 players, hard disks, personal computers and mobile phones) and reprographic reproduction devices (e.g., photocopying equipment). As before, the tax applies to photocopying services provided in Lithuania. The tax is payable by any party that either sells the aforementioned equipment or media or provides photocopying services to natural persons in Lithuania.


145 million Euros to be invested in biomass plant in Vilnius

The French company Dalkia has announced that it intends to invest 500 million Litas (145 million Euros) into building a biomass heating plant in the capital of Lithuania, thus allowing half of Vilnius‘centralized heating system runs on biofuel instead of gas. Mayor of Vilnius Artūras Zuokas has stated that this would be one of the largest foreign direct investments into Vilnius and Lithuania since 2009.

“After long negotiations, we have some very good news. The investors have not raised any conditions for the city. They will conform to all of the main requirements of compliance with all tender procedures. The biomass produced will be part of a Biofuel Market that will be established by the Ministry of Energy”, said Mayor Zuokas. Jean Sacreste, President and Chairman of the Board Dalkia Eastern Europe, stresses that a biomass power plant could be built in three years and that work on the site can be started by the end of this year.

“It would be a 300 MW plant that would serve half of the city‘s heating system needs. The current recently built biomass boiler serves 11 percent of Vilnius‘needs. The World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development are slated to invest in this project, but this kind of investment requires a foreseeable stable investment climate in the country“, – Mr. Sacreste says.


Lithuanian Defence Minister emphasises value of collective planning, joint exercises with NATO

On January 19 Minister of National Defence Rasa Jukneviciene participated in the meeting of Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen where the perspectives of the Baltic Air Policing mission, smart defence, the operation of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and joint military training was addressed.  “Collective planning within NATO is of utmost importance to us, just like joint military training”, Minister of National Defence said.

With regard to the Baltic Air Policing mission Minister emphasized that the Baltic States have enhanced the host nation support to the mission which was an outstanding illustration of NATO’s solidarity and visibility in the region.  R. Jukneviciene also stressed that Lithuania anticipates a successful transfer of responsibility process to local authorities in Ghor province, Afghanistan, this year.

NATO Secretary General who is on a formal visit in Lithuania also met with President H.E. Dalia Grybauskaite and leadership of the Seimas.  NATO Secretary General finishes his official visit in Lithuania today. This has been a second visit of A. F. Rasmussen in our country. His first visit took place in 2009, during the celebration of the Baltic States of the 5th anniversary of NATO accession.

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