The Lithuanian parliament, Seimas, on Friday authorised the government to launch the procedures to establish a state-owned development bank.
The government was also authorised to open consultations with the European Commission to request technical support.
The parliament also said the establishment of the bank is a key economic project of the country. Seimas passed the resolution in a vote of 67 to 14, with 13 abstentions.
“We are shifting away from the policy that effectively prohibits active economic activities of the state and [...] we continue to relax the state’s economic operations,” said Tomas Tomilinas from the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LVŽS).
“We do not do that because of some strange ideological motives or a wish to look back to the past. We are being absolutely practical, we see the pros and cons of market functioning and the need for the state’s pressure where necessary,” he added.
Ramūnas Karbauskis, leader of LVŽS, said the bank could operate on the basis of Lietuvos Paštas (Lithuanian Post) existing network of branches across the country.
Finance Minister Vilius Šapoka said last week he opposed the state’s participation in retail banking business.
However, he would support creating a state bank by consolidating the state-owned credit guarantee agency Invega, the Public Investment Development Agency and the Agricultural Loan Guarantee Fund.
President Gitanas Nausėda has also spoken in favour of establishing a state-owned bank.