Politics http://l24.lt Tue, 20 Apr 2021 11:18:49 +0300 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Conference on the Future of Europe: make your voice heard http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357883-conference-on-the-future-of-europe-make-your-voice-heard http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357883-conference-on-the-future-of-europe-make-your-voice-heard Conference on the Future of Europe: make your voice heard

Share your views on the EU, organise events across Europe and discuss with others through the new digital platform on the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Launched on 19 April, the platform is the multilingual hub of the Conference on the Future of Europe that will allow people to get involved and suggest what changes need to take place in the EU. Europeans will also be able to see what others propose, comment on them and endorse ideas.

The EU institutions have committed to listening to what people say and to following up on the recommendations made. The Conference is expected to reach conclusions by the spring of 2022.

How do you take part?

Choose a topic that interests you. It could be anything from climate change to digital issues or EU democracy. If you don’t see a category with your topic, share your opinion in the Other Ideas category.

Once you are in a specific category, you can read the introduction and explore some useful links. On the Ideas tab, you can share your views and find the ideas of others. Join the discussion by leaving a comment, or vote for ideas you like so that more people can find them.

You can submit your comment in any of the EU's official 24 languages. All comments can be translated automatically in any of the other languages.

Under the Events tab, you can explore events organised online or near you, register for an event or prepare your own.

The platform fully respects users’ privacy and EU data protection rules.

What happens when you submit an opinion?

The submitted opinions and the debate they initiate will be the basis for discussions in citizens’ panels that will be organised across the EU at regional, national and European level. These panels will include people from different backgrounds so that they can be representative of the whole population of the EU.

The conclusions of the different panels will be then presented at a plenary session of the Conference, which will bring together citizens, representatives of EU institutions and national parliaments.

Join the discussion on social media about the Conference with the hashtag #TheFutureIsYours

Ref.: 20210414STO02004


raimund.zacharevic@gmail.com (Raimund) Politics Mon, 19 Apr 2021 18:09:51 +0300
The situation in Afghanistan and Russia’s actions near Ukraine’s border discussed at a virtual NATO ministerial meeting http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357732-the-situation-in-afghanistan-and-russia-s-actions-near-ukraine-s-border-discussed-at-a-virtual-nato-ministerial-meeting http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357732-the-situation-in-afghanistan-and-russia-s-actions-near-ukraine-s-border-discussed-at-a-virtual-nato-ministerial-meeting The situation in Afghanistan and Russia’s actions near Ukraine’s border discussed at a virtual NATO ministerial meeting

On 14 April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis and the Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas took part in an extraordinary online meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Allied Defence Ministers, which focused on the security situation in Afghanistan and a gradual completion of the NATO-led mission Resolute Support Mission in this country.

At the meeting it was agreed that the U.S. and allies would start a coordinated withdrawal of all American troops from Afghanistan by the 1 May exit deadline and would pull the forces out by 11 September. Allies will continue to support the people of Afghanistan with diplomatic, financial and other means, and the Government’s commitment to the peace process.

“Our common goal is a secure and properly planned removal of troops. Cooperation with allies will be more important than ever,” said the Minister of National Defence.

The participants of the meeting also discussed Russia's recent large-scale military build-up near Ukraine's eastern border. Allies unanimously said they had seen the escalatory, alarming and unjustified actions of Russia.

“Russia's considerable military build-up near Ukraine’s border reminds us of the invasion and annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula by Russia in 2014-2015.

Lithuania calls on NATO and the entire international community to support Ukraine unanimously and to send a clear message to the Kremlin that military actions against Ukraine will have severe consequences for Russia itself,” said Landsbergis.



raimund.zacharevic@gmail.com (Raimund) Politics Thu, 15 Apr 2021 10:33:49 +0300
The President: Lithuania supports allied efforts to de-escalate the situation on the Ukrainian-Russian border http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357731-the-president-lithuania-supports-allied-efforts-to-de-escalate-the-situation-on-the-ukrainian-russian-border http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357731-the-president-lithuania-supports-allied-efforts-to-de-escalate-the-situation-on-the-ukrainian-russian-border The President: Lithuania supports allied efforts to de-escalate the situation on the Ukrainian-Russian border

President Gitanas Nausėda invited heads of institutions and intelligence services operating in the fields of national security and foreign policy to discuss the alarming situation on the Ukrainian-Russian border.

The meeting focused on Lithuania’s position, possible assistance to Ukraine and measures to ensure regional security.

“The current situation on the eastern border of Ukraine is a matter of deep concern not only for the Baltic States. Yesterday’s phone call by US President Joe Biden to Russia is very important in order to de-escalate the situation. Lithuania supports this position and is considering measures to help Ukraine, as well as to ensure security in the region,” the President said. Lithuania speaks out for a decision to send a clear and unambiguous message to Russia that the policy of intimidation by military force is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

The President and heads of institutions engaged in national security and foreign policies agreed that Lithuania should act in a coordinated manner at the national, regional, NATO, and EU levels.

Taking part in the meeting were Minister of National Defense Arvydas Anušauskas, Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, Chair of the Seimas Committee on National Security and Defense Laurynas Kasčiūnas, Director of the State Security Department Darius Jauniškis, and Director of the Second Investigation Department under the Ministry of National Defense Elegijus Paulavičius.



raimund.zacharevic@gmail.com (Raimund) Politics Wed, 14 Apr 2021 17:31:41 +0300
Coronavirus Response: Commission proposes to exempt vital goods and services distributed by the EU from VAT in times of crisis http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357721-coronavirus-response-commission-proposes-to-exempt-vital-goods-and-services-distributed-by-the-eu-from-vat-in-times-of-crisis http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357721-coronavirus-response-commission-proposes-to-exempt-vital-goods-and-services-distributed-by-the-eu-from-vat-in-times-of-crisis Coronavirus Response: Commission proposes to exempt vital goods and services distributed by the EU from VAT in times of crisis

The European Commission has today proposed to exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT) goods and services made available by the European Commission, EU bodies and agencies to Member States and citizens during times of crisis. This responds to the experience gained during the course of the Coronavirus pandemic. Among other things, it has shown that the VAT charged on some transactions ends up being a cost factor in procurement operations that strains limited budgets. Therefore, today'sinitiative will maximise the efficiency of EU funds used in the public interest to respond to crises, such as natural disasters and public health emergencies. It will also strengthen EU-level disaster and crisis management bodies, such as those falling under the EU's Health Union and the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

Once in place, the new measures will allow the Commission and other EU agencies and bodies to import and purchase goods and services VAT-free when those purchases are being distributed during an emergency response in the EU. The recipients might be Member States or third parties, such as national authorities or institutions (for example, a hospital, a national health or disaster response authority). Goods and services covered under the proposed exemption include, for instance:

  • diagnostic tests and testing materials, and laboratory equipment;
  • personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves, respirators, masks, gowns, disinfection products and equipment;
  • tents, camp beds, clothing and food;
  • search and rescue equipment, sandbags, life jackets and inflatable boats;
  • antimicrobials and antibiotics, chemical threat antidotes, treatments for radiation injury, antitoxins, iodine tablets;
  • blood products or antibodies;
  • radiation measuring devices;
  • development, production and procurement of necessary products, research and innovation activities, strategic stockpiling of products;
  • pharmaceutical licences, quarantine facilities, clinical trials, disinfection of premises, etc.

Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that these kinds of crises are multifaceted and have a wide-ranging impact on our societies. A rapid and efficient response is essential, and we need to provide the best response now in order to prepare for the future. Today's proposal supports the EU's goal to react to crises and emergencies in the EU. It will also ensure that the financial impact of EU-level relief efforts to fight the pandemic and support the recovery is maximised.”

Next steps

The legislative proposal, which will amend the VAT directive, will now be submitted to the European Parliament for its opinion, and to the Council for adoption.

Member States shall adopt and publish, by 30 April 2021 the laws regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive. They shall apply those measures from 1 January 2021.


The Coronavirus pandemic has thrown into sharp light the importance of coherent, decisive and centralised EU-level preparation and response in times of crisis. In the context of the Coronavirus pandemic, the von der Leyen Commission has already outlined plans to strengthen EU preparedness and management for cross-border health threats, and presented the building blocks of a stronger European Health Union. At the same time, the Commission has proposed to strengthen cooperation between EU Member States through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism with the aim of improving responses to future natural or man-made disasters. For instance, in the context of the new European Health Union, the Commission announced the creation of the Health Emergency Response Authority (HERA) to deploy rapidly the most advanced medical and other measures in the event of a health emergency, by covering the whole value chain from conception to distribution and use.

The EU has already taken action in the field of taxation and customs to support the fight against and the recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic. In April 2020, the EU agreed to waive customs and VAT charges for imports of masks and other protective equipment needed to fight the pandemic. This waiver remains in place and plans are underway for its extension. In December 2020, EU Member States agreed on new measures proposed by the Commission to allow a temporary VAT exemption for vaccines and testing kits being sold to hospitals, doctors and individuals, as well as closely related services. Under the amended Directive, Member States can apply either reduced or zero rates to both vaccines and testing kits if they so choose.



raimund.zacharevic@gmail.com (Raimund) Politics Tue, 13 Apr 2021 12:49:03 +0300
Information on the website of the Seimas is now available in audio http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357713-information-on-the-website-of-the-seimas-is-now-available-in-audio http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357713-information-on-the-website-of-the-seimas-is-now-available-in-audio Information on the website of the Seimas is now available in audio

The most up-to-date information on the activities of the Seimas and its decisions is now available in audio rather than only in written format. The website of the Seimas can offer this option after having installed the neural text-to-speech synthesis service to convert press releases and announcements published on the Seimas website into audio speech output.

Thanks to this service, the visually impaired will now find it easier to follow and participate in Lithuania’s political life and learn relevant information first-hand. This initiative of the Office of the Seimas contributes to equal opportunities and narrowing of the digital divide for people with disabilities, as well as greater access to the information and openness of the institution. The text-to-speech conversion of press releases and announcements may also prove useful to people who have no time for reading but wish to learn about the most recent developments at the Parliament first-hand.

The neural text-to-speech synthesis, as a technology adapted to serve the needs of the Seimas, has been developed by scientists at Vytautas Magnus University. In addition to this, the Office of the Seimas, in cooperation with the University, also plans to employ a single-language transcription tool developed by scientists and researchers of the University to convert audio records into text documents.



raimund.zacharevic@gmail.com (Raimund) Politics Mon, 12 Apr 2021 16:02:05 +0300
Coming up in Parliament: travel certificates, vaccines, farm animals http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357566-coming-up-in-parliament-travel-certificates-vaccines-farm-animals http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357566-coming-up-in-parliament-travel-certificates-vaccines-farm-animals Coming up in Parliament: travel certificates, vaccines, farm animals

MEPs start discussions on proposed rules for travel certificates and consider speeding up approval of vaccines adapted against Covid-19 variants.

Digital Green Certificate

The civil liberties committee holds a debate on Tuesday morning on the introduction of a Digital Green Certificate that would indicate whether a traveller within the EU has been vaccinated against Covid-19, has had a recent negative test result or has recovered from the virus. Parliament agreed in March to fast-track the legislative procedure so that the certificate can help establish the conditions for safe and easy travel over the summer.

Covid-19 vaccines

New Covid-19 variants might require adaptations of already approved vaccines. The public health committee will discuss a procedure to speed up approvals of such adaptations on Thursday and vote on it the next day.

Ban on caged farm animals

A Citizens’ Initiative advocating a ban on keeping farm animals in cages will be discussed during a public hearing on Thursday morning. The organisers of the End the Cage Age initiative, MEPs, Commissioners and experts will take part.

EU-India relations

On Tuesday the foreign affairs committee will vote on Parliament's position on EU-India relations, ahead of a summit scheduled for 8 May.

Broadcasting of live sports events

Digital piracy hurts the organisers of live sports events, but it also poses risks for online users as they might be exposed to malware or data theft. The legal affairs committee votes Tuesday on a report that proposes solutions to the problem.

Ref.: 20210408STO01624



raimund.zacharevic@gmail.com (Raimund) Politics Sun, 11 Apr 2021 12:48:27 +0300
Bilateral Lithuanian-French relations discussed http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357560-bilateral-lithuanian-french-relations-discussed http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357560-bilateral-lithuanian-french-relations-discussed Bilateral Lithuanian-French relations discussed

Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė has had a remote conversation with Ambassador of the French Republic Claire Nathalie Marie Lignieres-Counathe, and has discussed the pandemic management, economic and political cooperation, and security.

‘The Government is making every effort to prevent a possible new wave of pandemics. It is important that the country receives the amount of vaccines that has been provided for in the contracts. The joint procurement path chosen by the European Union has been the right one, and we must strictly adhere to it. Lithuania allows municipalities that are able to vaccinate faster to borrow vaccines from each other. A similar system could be applied to the EU member states,’ said Šimonytė.

It has been noted that Lithuania is holding active counsel with the European Commission on the implementation of reforms recommended by the EU. They are important for energy efficiency, digitalisation, and breakthroughs in education, science, and innovation.

On bilateral relations, it has been stated that Lithuania and France are strategic partners. The countries share many interests in the fields of environmental protection, renewable energy, energy research and development, innovation, human rights and democracy, and security and defence.

The Prime Minister has thanked France for its contribution to the security of the region. The presence of NATO’s allies in the region is vital, as security challenges persist. Russia remains aggressive, building up and modernising capabilities in the neighbourhood, and organising anti-NATO exercises. Russia’s political and military influence in Belarus is growing. The EU must strongly support the people of Belarus in their quest for an independent state.



raimund.zacharevic@gmail.com (Raimund) Politics Sat, 10 Apr 2021 10:24:56 +0300
Lithuania's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis met with a group of Ambassadors residing in Lithuania http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357557-lithuania-s-foreign-minister-gabrielius-landsbergis-met-with-a-group-of-ambassadors-residing-in-lithuania http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357557-lithuania-s-foreign-minister-gabrielius-landsbergis-met-with-a-group-of-ambassadors-residing-in-lithuania Lithuania's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis met with a group of Ambassadors residing in Lithuania

In a meeting with the Ambassadors of Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Spain's Chargés d'affaires ad interim residing in Lithuania on 8 April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis stressed the priority of Lithuania’s foreign policy to expand the space of democracy, the rule of law, and human rights both within the European Union and beyond.

Particular attention was given to the Council of Europe (Istanbul) Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The interlocutors also exchanged their views on various countries’ positions on the ratification and implementation of the Convention.

Lithuania's Foreign Minister noted that violence against women and domestic violence could not be tolerated, while the Istanbul Convention with its provisions was an important international document protecting human rights.

The Convention opens the path for creating a legal framework at pan-European level to protect women against all forms of violence, and prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence. It also establishes a specific monitoring mechanism in order to ensure effective implementation of its provisions by the parties.

The Foreign Minister also reminded the Ambassadors about Lithuania’s candidacy to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the term 2022-2024.

The meeting was held at the request of Ambassadors residing in Vilnius.



raimund.zacharevic@gmail.com (Raimund) Politics Fri, 09 Apr 2021 14:46:02 +0300
Conference on the Future of Europe: launch of the citizens’ platform on 19 April http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357431-conference-on-the-future-of-europe-launch-of-the-citizens-platform-on-19-april http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357431-conference-on-the-future-of-europe-launch-of-the-citizens-platform-on-19-april Conference on the Future of Europe: launch of the citizens’ platform on 19 April

At its meeting on Wednesday, the Executive Board of the Conference on the Future of Europe continued preparations to get the Conference started.

The Executive Board endorsed the multilingual digital platform that will allow citizens from across the EU to contribute to the Conference. It also agreed on its working methods and advanced preparations for the inaugural event on Europe Day (9 May).

An open and inclusive participatory democracy debate

As from 19 April, thanks to this new multilingual digital platform, citizens from across Europe will have the possibility to provide their views on any topic that they consider important for the future of the EU. This will enable citizens – for the first time at EU level – to put forward their ideas, comment on other people’s ideas, create and participate in events. The platform will be the Conference’s central hub, a place where all contributions to the Conference will be brought together and shared, including decentralised events, the European Citizens’ Panels and Conference Plenaries.

A specialised feedback mechanism will aggregate and analyse key points raised, so that they can also be taken into account during the European Citizens’ panels and Conference Plenaries. The platform will also provide information on the Conference’s structure and work, as well as resources for event organisers including a catalogue of key events through which they will be able to promote their initiatives at local, regional, national, and European levels. Citizens will easily be able to look up events in which they wish to participate thanks to an events map.

Following the meeting, the co-chairs of the Executive Board stated the following.

The European Parliament's Guy Verhofstadt (RE, BE) said: “We need to make this discussion as lively as possible, and in times of Covid that means to experiment with digital platforms as much as we can. With this platform, we offer the tools to give everyone a chance to get actively engaged in this debate, and we will make sure these ideas feed into the analysis and conclusions of the Conference. It’s their future, so it’s their Conference.”

The Portuguese Secretary of State for EU Affairs on behalf of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Ana Paula Zacarias, commented that “The Digital Platform will bring Europeans into the public space. It will allow them to express their concerns, share their dreams and expectations and to engage with their representatives. The Union needs the power of its citizens behind it to make it stronger. This is a decisive moment, and this will allow us to debate differing views frankly and without taboos.”

Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica, stated: “The launch of the Digital Platform in ten days’ time will provide a unique space for our citizens to engage in conversations and debates right across Europe. It will allow people to share their ideas, concerns, hopes and dreams – and in all official EU languages. Momentum is now growing and I look forward to seeing the outcome.”

The Conference’s official hashtag #TheFutureIsYours is an invitation to EU citizens to contribute and define the EU’s future: “The future is in your hands”.

Inaugural event on Europe Day

Additionally, the Executive Board made progress in preparing for the Conference’s inaugural event on Europe Day (9 May), health conditions permitting. It also adopted the Board’s own working methods and held a first discussion on the draft rules for the composition and work of Conference Plenary sessions.

Next steps

The Executive Board will meet again in two weeks, in order to finalise their discussion on the rules of procedure, and to address other prerequisites for the organisation of the Conference.

Ref.: 20210331IPR01243


raimund.zacharevic@gmail.com (Raimund) Politics Thu, 08 Apr 2021 09:53:23 +0300
The President's meeting with the Spanish Foreign Minister focused on regional security and economic cooperation http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357430-the-president-s-meeting-with-the-spanish-foreign-minister-focused-on-regional-security-and-economic-cooperation http://l24.lt/en/politics/item/357430-the-president-s-meeting-with-the-spanish-foreign-minister-focused-on-regional-security-and-economic-cooperation The President's meeting with the Spanish Foreign Minister focused on regional security and economic cooperation

President Gitanas Nausėda met with the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Arancha González Laya, to discuss bilateral relations, cooperation within the EU and NATO, the deteriorating situation in eastern Ukraine, and economic cooperation in high technologies and innovation.

The meeting also covered the security situation in the region and the newly emerging threats and challenges. The President thanked Spain for its contribution to strengthening security in the Baltic region and participating in NATO’s enhanced forward presence and Baltic Air Policing mission.

“We place and will continue to place special focus on regional security. The deteriorating human rights and freedoms situation in Russia and its increasingly aggressive posture, such as the build-up of military force on the border with Ukraine, are not a positive signal, so Lithuania will seek additional EU sanctions against Russia if the situation does not change,” the President said.

Among the other issues addressed at the meeting were EU decisions on combating the pandemic and measures for economic recovery. The President called for close collaboration of all member states as they worked to eliminate disruptions in vaccine supply chains and expressed his support to the redistribution of unused vaccines among EU countries on a pro rata basis. Gitanas Nausėda spoke in favor of introducing a green certificate if it covered the identification of immunity against COVID-19 and was based on the EMA-authorized vaccines.

Speaking about economic cooperation, the President underlined that European countries should focus their efforts on rapid and effective recovery from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic as well as on the development of innovation, green economy and digital transformation.

The President invited Spanish and Lithuanian businesses to actively engage in the search for cooperation opportunities to implement joint projects with high added value.



raimund.zacharevic@gmail.com (Raimund) Politics Wed, 07 Apr 2021 17:42:56 +0300