Week in Lithuania: Central bank said it will up 2023 inflation forecasts, PM pays visit to Japan

Last week, Lithuanian Railways announced of 37 percent drop in cargo volume, Government rejected Euroleague finals request.
Lithuania to increase active reserve faster
The Lithuanian Defense Ministry on Friday, 28 October, revealed plans to accelerate the formation of the country’s active military reserve, assign each reservist to a specific military unit and purchase weapons for the reserve brigade. The aim is to have an active reserve of 36 000 troops and bring the prepared reserve of military personnel close to 120 000 by 2025. By the end of this year, each member of the active reserve will be assigned to a specific unit to which they will be called up for service or to refresh their skills, according to Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas.
Central bank to up 2023 inflation forecasts
Despite the European Central Bank’s steps to slow inflation in the euro area by rapidly raising interest rates, the central Bank of Lithuania is set to raise the country’s inflation forecasts for next year, its governor Gediminas Šimkus said on Friday, 28 October. In September, the central bank expected annual inflation to reach 18.3 percent this year and slow to 8.4 percent next year. The latest figures from the country’s statistics service, Statistics Lithuania, show preliminary annual inflation rate was 22 percent in October.
Lithuania reports 383 new Covid-19 cases, three deaths
Lithuania recorded 383 new coronavirus infections and three deaths from Covid-19 over Thursday, 27 October, the public health authority, LNVC, announced on Friday, 28 October. Of the new cases, 301 were primary, 79 were secondary, two were tertiary, and one person contracted the virus for a fourth time. The number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 now stands at 122, including 13 ICU cases. The 14-day primary infection rate has edged down to 234.7 cases per 100 000 people, with the seven-day percentage of positive tests down to 24.4 percent. More than 1.2 million people in Lithuania have tested positive with Covid-19 at least once.
Annual inflation hits 22 percent in October
Lithuania’s annual inflation rate stood at 22 percent in October, the country’s statistics office, Statistics Lithuania, estimated on Thursday, 27 October. Annual inflation was mainly driven by increased prices for food products, non-alcoholic beverages, housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuel goods and services, and transport goods and services, according to Statistics Lithuania. The monthly inflation rate for October is estimated at 1.3 percent.
Border guards deter 17 migrants from crossing in from Belarus
Lithuanian border guards turned away 17 migrants over Wednesday, 26 October, attempting to cross into the country from Belarus illegally, the State Border Guard Service (SBGS) said on Thursday, 27 October. Latvia recorded nine attempts to cross the border illegally on Thursday, and Polish border guards denied entry to 73 irregular migrants on Wednesday, according to the latest available information. The daily number of migrants refused entry to Lithuania reached this year’s high of 135 on 20 September, nine fewer than the highest ever number recorded on 12 November, 2021. A total of 9 665 irregular migrants have been stopped from entering Lithuania since January. Lithuanian border guards have sent around 17 700 people back to Belarus since 3 August, 2021, when they were given the right to deny entry to irregular migrants.
NATO transformation chief speaks of modernity in nuclear deterrence
Being modern is key when it comes to nuclear deterrence, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation HQ General Philippe Lavigne said in Vilnius on Thursday, 27 October. The NATO commander provided guidance on how the Lithuanian Armed Forces should be developed and built up.
Lithuanian PM pays visit to Japan
Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė was on official visit to Japan this week. She said she sees the potential for mutual benefit in cooperation with this country, both in terms of manufacturing and research. On Thursday, 27 October, she met with Yoshinao Mishima, president of the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED), to discuss bilateral scientific cooperation between Lithuania and Japan, stating afterwards that the results of the joint activities as well as the future prospects were already evident. She also met with Hitachi CEO Toshiaki Higashihara to discuss economic relations between Lithuania and Japan, which would be further facilitated by the strategic partnership established by the heads of government of both countries on Wednesday, 26 October, as well as specific areas of cooperation between Lithuania and Hitachi, especially in the implementation of strategic infrastructure projects.
FL Technics lands wheels and brakes contract from Wizz Air
FL Technics, the aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) subsidiary of Lithuanian-owned Avia Solutions Group (ASG), has secured a contract to provide aircraft maintenance and repair services to Hungary’s Wizz Air. According to Jonas Janukėnas, CEO of ASG, FL Technics’ new wheel and brake services have already attracted strong interest from major European airlines. Julia Brix, head of technical services at Wizz Air Group, which owns a fleet of more than 350 aircraft, said in the press release that the contract marked the beginning of a long cooperation.
Opposition MPs grill Interior Minister
Opposition political groups in the Lithuanian Seimas will on Thursday, 27 October, met with Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė to discuss the incompetence and mobbing allegations made against her by the former Public Security Service Commander General Ričardas Pocius. Pocius said his relations with Bilotaitė became strained after the riots and he was repeatedly asked to resign. Bilotaitė, for her part, called some of his statement delusional and the general’s attitude to his work, rather than the crackdown on the riots, was the reason for her lack of confidence in Pocius.
Government rejects Žalgiris Kaunas’ Euroleague finals request
Lithuania’s government has rejected Žalgiris Kaunas’ request for 1 million euros to support the city’s bid to host the Euroleague Final Four matches, the public broadcaster LRT reported on Tuesday, 25 October. Vice Minister of Education, Science and Sport Linas Občarskas says the government cannot afford allocating money for this event as the country is going through difficult times. He also stressed that the question was not about a European or world championship, adding the Euroleague Final Four will probably take place without Žalgiris Kaunas.
LTG posts 37 percent drop in the first three quarters
LTG Cargo, the freight subsidiary of Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LTG), carried 23.6 million tons of freight between January and September, down 37 percent year-on-year. The company said on Monday, 24 October, it attributes the decline in freight traffic to international sanctions against Russia and Belarus, and to some customers’ decision to stop transporting goods from these countries. This year’s freight shipments included about 6.9 million tons of oil and oil products (up from 6.5 million tons during the nine months of last year), about 3.8 million tons of construction materials (down from 4.3 million tons), almost 3.4 million tons of fertilizers (down from 13.2 million tons), some 2.6 million tons of agricultural products (unchanged from last year), 1.7 million tons of food industry products (slightly up from 1.6 million tons), 1.6 million tons of coal (down from 3.2 million tons), and about 3.8 million tons of other goods (down from almost 6 million tons). Around 0.2 million tons of freight, mostly agricultural products, were transported from Ukraine to Lithuania during the nine months of 2022, down by 87 percent from 1.5 million tons in the same period last year.