The ruling bloc's proposal to introduce a tax on bank assets in Lithuania will be extensively discussed in parliament before any decision is made, according to Finance Minister Vilius Šapoka.
“Lithuanian banks are under the supervision of the European Central Bank, and they have to pay contributions to the Deposit Insurance Fund and to the supervision mechanism to ensure stability. There are many circumstances, and all the pros and cons must be weighed before a decision can be made,” the minister told an LRT TV programme.
“I think once we have a concrete draft version, the Seimas will certainly hold discussions on this issue. I have no doubt that we will find the best solution,” he added.
Such a tax would not need the ECB's approval, since the issue falls within the purview of national governments, according to Šapoka.
The finance minister also admitted that the ruling coalition was discussing a tax on retail chains' turnover.
“These discussions have continued for some time now,” he said. “I think that, again, we will sit down, weigh all the pros and cons, listen to all interested parties and find the necessary solutions.”
The Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union and its government coalition partner, the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania–Christian Families Alliance, say a tax on bank assets would help raise additional funds to combat poverty and social exclusion.
Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has backed such an initiative.