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Lithuanian report Lithuanian report
by Euro Reporter
2012-12-03 11:11:24
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Lithuania government debt shrinks in October to 37.5% of GDP

Lithuania’s central government debt shrank to 37.5 percent of this year’s projected gross domestic product at the end of October, 0.4 percentage points less than a month earlier, the Finance Ministry said.

The Baltic nation’s total state debt at Oct. 31 was 42.1 billion litai ($15.9 billion), the ministry in Vilnius, the capital, said on its website today. That compared with 41.8 billion litai, or 37.9 percent of GDP, at the end of September. The proportion of debt that was long-term was unchanged in the month at 97 percent.

Foreign debt denominated in currencies other than litai or Euros is valued at the exchange rates fixed in derivative contracts to hedge the obligations, it said. If that debt were valued at current market exchange rates, total state debt at the end of October would be 43.1 billion litai, or 38.4 percent of the 2012 projected GDP, according to the ministry.


Social democrat to lead Lithuanian government

The Social Democrats are to lead Lithuania's next government, after Algirdas Butkevicius won the backing of both the president and the national parliament. However, the composition of his four-party, left-of-centre cabinet remains undecided.  Parliament's confirmation of Butkevicius on Thursday (22 November) ended his three-week impasse with President Dalia Grybauskaite, who had opposed the inclusion of the Labour Party. Labour, which belongs to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, went into October's two-round election under the shadow of charges of tax evasion levelled at three of its members, including its leader, Vladimir Uspaskich. It emerged with the third-largest number of seats, but two of its members were disqualified on 14 November because of irregularities, including vote-buying.

In announcing her decision, Grybauskaite acknowledged the mathematical impossibility of a majority government without the Social Democrats, but made clear her reluctance to accept a government that included a party that is “sitting on the bench of the accused”. “Only time will tell whether this majority's concern will be the welfare of the people or, rather, delays of criminal cases” against its members, “and the divvying up of money to the benefit of criminal oligarchic groups,” she said.  In the event, Uspaskich has given up his seat in the European Parliament to return to Vilnius, but has decided not to become a minister. On Thursday, the prosecutor-general formally asked the Lithuanian parliament to lift the immunity from prosecution for Uspaskich and two other Labour members. Grybauskaite, a former European commissioner, has also taken an activist approach to the composition of the new cabinet, insisting that ministers should be selected with an eye to Lithuania's presidency of the European Union's Council of Ministers in the second half of 2013. She began interviewing potential ministers on Tuesday (27 November), and has made a point of testing whether they are proficient in English, French or German. Butkevicius, a 54-year-old former finance and transport minister, is the only party leader in the 15-member government. Rolandas Paksas of the Order and Justice Party and Valdemar Tomaševski of the Polish minority's party, AWPL, have both decided to remain as MEPs. Paksas was impeached when he served as president in 2004, but his ban from the Lithuanian parliament was overturned in 2011.

The Social Democrats will dominate the cabinet, occupying eight of the 15 seats, including the posts of finance, economy, health, defence, justice and transport, as well as prime minister. Responsibility for Lithuania's presidency of the Council of Ministers would fall to its nominee for the foreign ministry, Linas Linkevicius, who is Lithuania's ambassador to Belarus and a former envoy to NATO. He has also twice served as defence minister.  The Labour Party will have four portfolios: agriculture, social security, education, and culture. Butkevicius has already rejected two of its nominees. The Order and Justice Party will occupy the environment and home-affairs ministries; while the AWPL, a member of the European Conservatives and Reformist group, will hold the energy portfolio. The AWPL has, however, yet to name its candidate for the post.


Lithuanian bicycle registration system will help to guard against thefts

Lithuania is working on completion of the bicycle registration system, which aims to prevent bicycle theft and illegal purchase of bicycles, the Transport Ministry of Lithuania said in a statement. It is planned that it will start to operate on the Internet from December. While bicycles are getting more and more popular a lot of Lithuanians are faced with increased numbers of bicycle thefts and problems identifying real owner if the stolen bike is found, because bikes that are purchased a long time ago usually have no documentation proving the real owner.
A lot of European Union countries already have such bicycle registration systems which help to solve problems mentioned before, so it was decided to create similar system in Lithuania as well. It is hoped Lithuania's bicycle registration system will become a preventative measure for bicycle thefts and create more opportunities to identify, find and retrieve a stolen bike. This system will help to check whether or not the bike intended to buy is stolen, it will also provide opportunity to identify real owner of the bike if purchase documents are lost and etc.
Those who wish to use bicycle registration system will have to register as a user on the website www.dviraciuregistras.lt. Once logged onto bicycle register the user will be able to register his own bikes as well as ones of his family members and relatives. To register a bicycle it will be needed to enter its frame number into the register (every bike has one). Once the bike is registered owner will be sent a special sticker with a code, which should be placed on the bicycle’s frame. In case of theft bike which is registered in the system can be marked as stolen in the bicycle register. In addition, it will be possible to re-register the bike for another owner once it’s sold, mark places of bicycle theft on the map, join the police registry with information about the stolen items and perform other functions. Bicycle registration system is developed by cooperation of Lithuanian cycling business association and Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Police department, Lithuanian cyclist community and by consulting other institutions. Currently Lithuania has developed a computer model for bicycle registration system, prepared the necessary documents, regulations, contracts and other necessary documentation to ensure functioning of the system.

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