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2020.07.22 10:06

Discussions on EU's recovery fund move to Lithuanian parliament

Milena Andrukaitytė, Vaidotas Beniušis, BNS2020.07.22 10:06

The discussions on the recovery fund, which the EU leaders recently agreed on, are moving to the Lithuanian parliament, Seimas, on Wednesday.

The national parliaments of the 27 EU member states will have to decide over the coming months whether to endorse the European Commission’s plan to borrow 750 billion euros in the international markets to provide assistance to the coronavirus-affected countries.

Read more: Lithuanian president hails EU budget deal: unity prevailed

“The EU’s recovery instrument will mean changes to the Own resources mechanism. It not only needs unanimous approval by the EU member states, but also ratification according to the national constitutional requirements,” Arnoldas Pranckevičius, head of the European Commission Representation in Lithuania, told BNS.

According to him, the European Commission expects the ratification process to be complete as soon as possible for the recovery fund to be up and running on January 1.

The Lithuanian parliamentary Committee on European Affairs is planning to start discussing the matter this week. Its chairman Gediminas Kirkilas of the Social Democratic Labour Party said that the lawmakers would hear lawyers’ opinions on the ratification process on Wednesday.

The politician told BNS that the new economic revival plan would help not only Lithuania but the whole of the EU “to get back on their feet” after the coronavirus crisis.

“The recovery package is very important. It is aimed at the green economy, digitalisation, IT, and technology. […] If this plan is implemented, it will definitely be beneficial and the risks are only theoretical and hypothetical,” said Kirkilas.

The opposition leader Gabrielius Landsbergis of the conservative Homeland Union, however, pointed out that Lithuania’s budget would be used for other countries’ debt, so effective expenditure controls are necessary.

“We should not forget that it’s borrowed money. The Lithuanian budget will serve as a debt guarantee for other countries. In other words, Lithuanians will be liable for the money allocated to Italy and Spain,” Landsbergis told BNS.

The EU member states will be allocated 390 billion euros in non-recoverable grants with the remaining share of the recovery package coming as loans. Lithuania is eligible to receive 2,4 billion euros in grants and 3 billion euros in loans from the fund.

Read more: Lithuania secures bounty for its farmers as EU leaders seal budget deal