EU Commissioner will stand for Lithuanian presidency

EU Commissioner will stand for Lithuanian presidency Vilnius - The European Union's Financial Planning and Budgets Commissioner, Dalia Grybauskaite, confirmed Thursday that she will be a candidate in May's presidential election to be held in her homeland, Lithuania.

Speaking at a specially-convened press conference in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, Grybauskaite told reporters she felt the time was right to return from her European duties given the number of people urging her to stand and the seriousness of the economic situation facing the Baltic state.

Lithuanian government confirms oil refinery sell-off

Lithuanian government confirms oil refinery sell-off Vilnius  - The Lithuanian government is to sell off its remaining 10 per cent stake in the only oil refinery operating in the Baltic states, Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said Tuesday.

The buyer is Polish energy giant PKN Orlen, which already owns the other 90 per cent of the Mazeikiu Nafta facility in northern Lithuania, which is one of the biggest commercial enterprises in the Baltics.

Polish president leads Lithuanian independence day celebrations

Lech KaczynskiVilnius - Polish President Lech Kaczynski made the short trip across the border to neighbouring Lithuania on Monday to join celebrations of the Baltic state's independence day.

Kaczynski was the guest of his Lithuanian counterpart, Valdas Adamkus, as the two leaders marked their countries' close cultural and historical ties.

The presidents took part in a flag-raising ceremony in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, before celebrating mass together in Vilnius Cathedral, followed by a working lunch.

Earlier, Adamkus handed out a variety of state decorations to individuals who had been of service to the state.

Lithuania confirms US request to take Guantanamo prisoners

Vilnius  - Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas confirmed Friday that the Baltic nation has received a request from the United States to take in two inmates from Guantanamo Bay detention camp run by the US military in Cuba.

Speaking at a press conference in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, Usackas said a request was received from the US on February 5.

Usackas would not reveal the nationalities of the proposed inmates apart from saying that they were not Chinese. The Chinese embassy in Vilnius had written to the Lithuanian foreign ministry requesting that any of its citizens under detention should not be accepted.

Estonian, Lithuanian leaders try to bridge Baltic "energy islands"

Vilnius, LithuaniaTallinn - The prime ministers of Estonia and Lithuania met Tuesday in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, to wrestle with the Baltic states' "energy island" status within the European Union.

The electricity systems bequeathed to the Baltics by the 50 years of Soviet occupation which ended in 1991 have hindered attempts at full energy integration.

Currently, a cable from Estonia to Finland called Estlink is the only major connection joining the Baltics to the Nordic grid, with a further link, Estlink 2, in the advanced planning stage.

GDP drop sends Lithuania towards long recession

Latvia Riga MapVilnius - Lithuania looks set join Baltic neighbours Estonia and Latvia in recession soon, after figures released by the Lithuanian statistics office Tuesday said GDP fell by 1.5 per cent in the last quarter of 2008 compared to growth of 2.9 per cent in the third quarter.

Estimated average growth for the whole of 2008 was 3.2 per cent.

"Today's GDP figures confirmed our expectation that the economic development in Lithuania is lagging behind the other two Baltic countries, which are already in recession," commented Danske Bank analyst Violeta Klyviene.