News in Lithuania – October 19


Foreign Ministers Join Ranks

During his visit to Vilnius, Canadian Foreign Minister Francois Philippe Champagne met with the foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The ministers have agreed to hold annual meetings to build stronger ties. In a joint statement, they also expressed support for Belarusian civil society and the Coordinating Council led by Belarus’ former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who is also in Vilnius.

Canada has historically had large diasporas from Eastern Europe. The country also leads a multinational NATO battalion deployed in Latvia.

Disconnecting from the Grid

The Ministry of Energy has put together a plan for an independent and reliable energy system, which is now ready for review.  Until it is synchronized with the European continental networks and disconnected from the Russian IPS/UPS system, it needs to be reinforced to withstand possible third-party interference, said energy minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas.

The four-stage plan includes the possibility of acquiring assistance from Poland in case of emergency and also the capability of functioning independently as early as 2021. By 2024, in cooperation with Estonia and Latvia there would be infrastructure in place to provide a reliable Baltic system. Until now, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus and Russia are on the BRELL ring, controlled by Moscow. The plan forsees the Baltic nations connecting to the European network and work in tandem with Poland, Germany and other European nations no later than 2025.

In 2021, Lithuania plans to install four 50-megawatt batteries for some 100 million euros, which would provide at least 200 megawatt-hours of storage capacity.

Further Virus Precautions

As of October 19, Lithuania has added Bulgaria, Italy, and Lichtenstein to its blacklist, meaning that people arriving from the coronavirus-affected countries are now required to self-isolate. Meanwhile, Iran, Ecuador, Mexico, and Dominican Republic have been removed from the list. After the change of quarantine rules on October 7, only people arriving from countries with a 10% higher count of new COVID-19 cases than Lithuania over the past 14 days will have to self-isolate.

As of October 16, Lithuania’s infection rate stood at 70.7 cases per 100,000 people. Previously, the benchmark had been 25 cases of COVID-19 confirmed over the last two weeks per 100,000 people.