The EU’s latest proposal for the bloc’s multi-annual budget is “a step forward”, but Lithuania will fight for more funding in some areas, according to an adviser to President Gitanas Nausėda.
“There are points that we can be glad about, but not completely, because there are still certain commitments that were not taken into account, and we are going to fight for them in Brussels,” Asta Skaisgirytė said on Tuesday, commenting on the proposal presented by European Council President Charles Michel.
The updated proposal for the EU’s next long-term budget retains a compensation for Lithuania’s losses caused by emigration.
In a move that would help ease the pressure on national budgets, Michel’s proposal raises the maximum possible rate of EU co-financing to 85 percent of a project’s total cost, up from the previous 75 percent.
There are no changes as to direct payments to farmers, funding for the decommissioning of Lithuania’s Ignalina nuclear power plant, and the Russian Kaliningrad transit scheme, however.
“Cohesion funding is very important for us. Our argument is that emigration or, in other words, the depopulation rate must be taken into account,” the president’s adviser said, adding that Lithuania is also seeking more rural development funding and higher direct payments to farmers.
The European Council summit is scheduled for Friday and Saturday. However, European leaders may not reach the final agreement on the budget this time, Skaisgirytė believes.
“It may take two meetings. There’s no discussion about a second one yet. However, it is thought that it could take place before autumn,” the adviser told reporters after President Nausėda met with several ministers to discuss Lithuania’s position in the talks.
“The aim is to conclude the negotiations this year so that we can start using the money next year, especially for pandemic-affected countries,” she said.
At the summit, Nausėda will also raise the issue of Russia’s efforts to justify Soviet crimes and rehabilitate the Soviet-Nazi pact signed on the eve of World War Two, the adviser said.