BNN summary of the week: Electricity prices in the Baltic countries. State support this fall. Demolition at Victory Park – Baltic News Network
Although the heating season has not yet started in Latvia, the price of electricity in Latvia and other Baltic states continues to rise. In July, the price of electricity in the three Baltic States increased rapidly, reaching new highs. Although electricity prices were on the rise in all three Baltic States, it was mainly in Latvia and Lithuania that the monthly electricity price was EUR 304.96 and EUR 305.36 per MWh.
In addition, this week, the Ministry of Economy announced that it had put in place detailed conditions for support during the heating season to help offset the rapidly rising prices of energy resources for households.
As autumn approaches, the theme of energy resources is not the only one that concerns everyone in Latvia. There is also the Soviet Victory Monument located in Victory Park. The Latvian government and Riga City Council have agreed to completely demolish it by November 15. This week, Riga Mayor Mārtiņš Staķis and City Executive Director Jānis Lange reported on developments related to the demolition of the aforementioned monument. According to what Staķis, it can be assumed that the entire monument will have been completely removed by October.
BNN gives you a summary of the most relevant events of the past week under the following headings: New electricity price records; State aid during the heating season; The monument of Soviet victory will soon fall; No question of dodging the draft; The grain leaves Odessa; The United States gives the green light to the NATO courses of Sweden and Finland.
NEW RECORDS IN ELECTRICITY PRICES
Electricity price hits record high in all Baltic states in July
In July 2022, the average price of electricity in the Latvian area increased to 304.96 EUR/MWh, which remains historically the highest monthly average price for the second consecutive month since the liberalization of the electricity market , as reported by Augstsprieguma tīkls JSC (AST).
July was the second consecutive month in which the historically highest average electricity price was reached in Latvia since the liberalization of the electricity market – 304.96 EUR/MWh.
In Lithuania the price was EUR 305.36 and in Estonia EUR 233.21/MWh.
According to AST, the average electricity price increase in July was 39.7% compared to June.
The price increase compared to July 2021 was 245%.
STATE AID DURING THE HEATING SEASON
Latvian ministry defines conditions for granting aid to offset rising energy prices for households
The Latvian Ministry of Economy has prepared rules that govern the granting of compensation to households with the aim of reducing the impact of rapidly rising energy prices, as confirmed by the ministry.
Additionally, the ministry has prepared rules to provide support to households that use firewood and wood chips for heating. The support system for natural gas users has also been improved.
The Cabinet of Ministers is expected to consider the proposed regulations on August 9 and for the Saeima on August 11.
On June 21, the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers decided to draw up measures to compensate for the rising costs of energy resources (electricity, natural gas, heating energy and wood pellets) for households. Due to the rapidly rising prices of firewood and wood briquettes, the Ministry of Economy has included in the new regulations support for households that use these fuels for heating.
THE SOVIET MONUMENT WILL FALL SOON
The removal of the monument glorifying the Soviet army in Riga will begin soon
The total cost of the removal of the Victory Monument and the subsequent land improvement project is estimated at EUR 2,131,899, Riga City Council Chairman Mārtiņš Staķis told a conference of press on August 4.
Staķis also pointed out that this amount covers the entire project, not just the removal of the monument.
“The project is huge. It is an area of about 3 ha and an object that took six years to build. Once it is removed, we plan to green the area,” the mayor said.
NO WAY TO DODGE THE DRAFT
Latvians who try to evade compulsory military service risk a three-year prison sentence
Recruits entering the State Defense Service (VAD) will be assessed by general practitioners. Troops will have access to “additional bonuses”. However, attempts to dodge the project can be punished with a prison term of up to three years, according to the VAD reform prepared by the Latvian Defense Ministry.
The ministry submitted the report to the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Health. According to this report, in five years, it is planned to adopt a comprehensive conscription system to process all men aged 18 and over and determine their fitness for military service. It is planned to recruit men between the ages of 18 and 27 in Latvia.
The VAD will include three forms of military service – National Armed Forces, National Guard, military training for high school students and alternative service.
To ensure the registration and conscription of citizens for military service, it is planned to create a new state institution with regional offices under the Ministry of Defense, but until the institution is able to start its operations, it will depend on the national armed forces.
GRAIN SHEETS ODESSA
The first Ukrainian grain ship leaves the port of Odessa since the beginning of the war
Ukrainian and Turkish officials report that a ship carrying grain left the Ukrainian port of Odessa for Lebanon on Monday August 1, as part of a safe passage agreement, Reuters reports.
This is the first departure since the Russian invasion blocked shipping through the Black Sea five months ago. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister called the day a relief for the world, especially for countries threatened by food shortages and hunger due to interrupted shipments.
This was possible after Turkey and the United Nations brokered a grain and fertilizer export deal between Russia and Ukraine last month. The agreement aims to allow safe passage of grain shipments to and from Odessa, Chornomorsk and the port of Pivdennyi.
US LEAFS NATO COURSE TO FINLAND, SWEDEN
US Senate approves Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership
On Wednesday August 3, the US Senate approved NATO membership for Sweden and Finland by a vote of 95 to 1. Sending a strong message of support for the expansion of the Western alliance against Russia. , reports the broadcaster Voice of America (VOA).
The United States is one of 30 NATO member countries that will have to approve the admission of Sweden and Finland.
The usually lengthy admissions process was expedited in the US Senate as part of a vigorous response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.
Ahead of the vote, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez said the Senate vote would send a powerful condemnation of Russian aggression in Ukraine.