Week in Lithuania: Vilnius rejects claims of violence against migrants, Lithuania receives support from France

Last week, the top news stories in Lithuania were business deals in Baltic trade and Lithuanian industry, Vilnius rejected claims of violence against migrants, Lithuania received political support from France.
Love drama Runner wins Tallinn’s film festival’s Baltic prize
Runner, a love drama directed by Lithuanian director Andrius Blaževičius, was last Saturday named the best Baltic film at the 25th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (POFF), the film’s representatives said on Monday, November 29. There were a total of 13 films in the Baltic category, including six Lithuanian films. Earlier this year, Runner also won the main prize of the eighth Riga International Film Festival.
Akropolis Group to acquire shopping centre Alfa in Riga
Lithuania’s Akropolis Group has been granted permission to complete the acquisition of the Alfa shopping centre in Riga, the group said on Monday, November 29. It manages the Akropolis shopping and entertainment centers in Lithuania’s Vilnius, Klaipėda and Šiauliai, and Akropole in Riga. On November 25, the Latvian Competition Council granted Akropolis Group unconditional merger clearance to complete the acquisition of a shopping centre located in the Latvian capital, the group said.
Justice ministry to turn to US to pay remuneration for CIA prisoner
Lithuania’s Justice Ministry plans to take steps to pay 130,000 euros in compensation awarded by the European Court of Human Rights to Palestinian Abu Zubaydah, one of the organisers of the September 11 attacks in the US for his arbitrary detention at a secret American prison near Vilnius, Ričardas Dzikovičius, head of the legal representation group at the Justice Ministry, said on Monday, November 29. The ECHR ordered Lithuania to pay a total of 130,000 euros, including 100,000 euros to Abu Zubaydah and 30,000 euros to his lawyer. Abu Zubaydah is currently at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, suspected of his involvement in the September 11 attacks. Lithuania does not admit to this date there was a CIA prison in the country.
Lithuania slams Belarus’ accusations of beating to death migrants
Lithuania on Tuesday, November 30, rejected as absurd Belarus’ accusations that its border guards have beaten to death migrants and dumped their bodies on the other side of the border. The service said that Belarus’ authorities have already tried to stage and direct beatings, the crippling or even deaths of migrants, blaming Lithuania and Poland for the ostensible death. The statement came after Belarus’ authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko earlier on Monday, November 29, accused Lithuanian border guards of dumping the bodies of migrants into Belarus.
France’s Macron voices support for Lithuania, Nausėda
French President Emmanuel Macron voiced support for Lithuania over the ongoing migrant crisis, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said on Tuesday, November 30, while paying visit to the French head-of-state in Paris, and he stressed that the European Union must find ways to resolve issues near the EU’s eastern borders.
Foreign minister meets with US state secretary
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Riga on Wednesday, December 1. The meeting focused on the security situation on NATO’s Eastern flank and the Russian military buildup along Ukraine’s borders, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release. The Lithuanian and US top diplomats also underlined the need for the international community to continue exerting pressure on Alexander Lukashenko’s regime and to prevent the orchestrated instrumentalization of irregular migrants.
Lithuania’s new car market shrinks 15.2 percent this year
Some 32,900 new passenger cars were registered in Lithuania in January-November 2021, down 15.2 percent from 38,820 in the same period last year, Autotyrimai said on Wednesday, December 1, citing data from the state car registration company Regitra. In November alone, new car registrations plunged to 2,000, down 55.1 percent from around 4,500 a year ago. The main reasons for the decline remain the same: a shortage of semiconductors has led to a sharp reduction in the production of most car models and has severely limited the ability to meet the strong demand for re-exports, the market research company said.
Read also: BNN ANALYSES | Over 300 asylum requests being processed expeditiously in Lithuania
Lithuania turns away 37 migrants on border with Belarus
Lithuanian border guards have in the past 24 hours turned away 37 migrants attempting to cross into the country from Belarus illegally, the State Border Guard Service (SBGS) said on Thursday, December 2. No migrants were allowed to enter Lithuania on humanitarian grounds on Wednesday, December 1. Reinforced controls remain in place on the Lithuanian side of the border.
Lithuanian Railways’ affiliate to invest240 million euros next year
LTG Infra, the infrastructure subsidiary of Lithuania’s state railway company Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LTG), is planning to invest 240 million euros next year, 10 percent more than this year, LTG Infra CEO Karolis Sankovski said on Thursday, December 2. Most of LTG Infra’s procurement planned for next year will be financed mainly from EU funds. The company is planning to invest more than 4.9 billion euros by 2030, including around 3.4 billion euros in the Rail Baltica European-gauge railway Rail Baltica project. Some 694 million euros will be spent on modernising railways, level crossings and culverts, 558 million euros on electrification, replacing traffic lights, lighting and modernising buildings, 134 million euros on digitizing and automating operations, and 93 million euros on business development.
Lithuania reports 2,040 new coronavirus cases, 14 deaths
Lithuania registered 2,040 new coronavirus infections and 14 deaths from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, the country’s statistics office said on Friday, December 3. Eleven of the fatalities were either not vaccinated or only partially vaccinated. A total of 20,618 people have been vaccinated over the past 24 hours, including 2,454 with their first dose. The 14-day infection rate has risen to 860.4 per 100,000 people, taking an upward turn after more than three weeks of decline. The seven-day percentage of positive tests currently stands at 9.9 percent. A total of 476,000 people in Lithuania have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. The death toll has reached 6,800.
SoliTek partners with Belgians, Turks to build battery pack factory
SoliTek, a solar module manufacturer that is part of Lithuania’s Global BOD Group, has signed a joint venture agreement with Belgium’s Avesta Battery & Energy Engineering and Turkey’s Imecar Elektronik for a new battery pack production facility in Vilnius, the Vz.lt online news site reported on Friday, December 3. The battery pack factory, the first of its kind in Lithuania, is expected to be fully operational by January 2023.