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2019.12.05 09:45

Lithuania could see EU funds slashed under Finland's proposal

BNS 2019.12.05 09:45

A long-term budget proposal by Finland, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, may significantly reduce support for Lithuania and is even more unfavorable than the previous plan from the European Commission, the Delfi.lt online news site reported on Thursday. 

"All our sores and problems remain," Darius Trakelis, director of the EU and International Affairs Department at the Finance Ministry. told delfi.lt.

"Under the Commission's proposal, we would have received 24 percent less cohesion policy funding, which was unacceptable to us, and Finland's compromise proposal increases that cut to 27 percent. That is even more unacceptable," he said.

Jovita Neliupšienė, Lithuania's ambassador to the EU, believes the Finland's proposal needs to be reworked.

"We'd like to see a more balanced and fairer EU multi-annual budget," she said.

If Finland's proposal is approved, direct payments to Lithuanian farmers will remain well below those in Western Europe. Meanwhile, the proposed funding to decomission the Ignalina nuclear plant will still be 30 percent below Lithuania's needs.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday criticised plans to slash the EU budget, saying it could undermine defence and climate change goals.

The EU is currently negotiating the bloc's long-term budget plan for 2021-2027, which is complicated by the Brexit process.

Member countries have been holding intense talks since mid-2018 on the basis of the Commission's proposal for a 1.13-trillion-euro multiannual budget. Finland proposes to decrease the amount to just over 1.087 trillion euros.