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Published: 25 july 2012 08:19

Lithuania's concerns about EU's future budget remain unanswered

Audronius Ažubalis
Luko Balandžio nuotr. / Audronius Ažubalis
The European Commission's (EC) new proposal still fails to provide an answer to Lithuania's concerns about restricted cohesion funds, inequality in the distribution of direct agricultural payments, and inadequate funding for decommissioninf Ignalina nuclear power plant (NPP) in the new European Union (EU) budget, Lithuania's Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis says.

Speaking at a meeting of his colleagues in Brussels on Tuesday, the diplomacy chief emphasized that the cohesion policy aimed at bridging gaps between regions was crucial in the efforts to revive the economy, therefore, should receive enough funds, the ministry said.

"The Cohesion Policy is the key financial instrument contributing to economic recovery and growth and jobs agenda. Therefore, sufficient resources must be ensured for the successful implementation of the policy, while putting emphasis on reducing regional development disparities,” the ministry cited Ažubalis as saying.

The General Affairs Council meeting discussed the Commission’s recently updated Multiannual Financial Framework proposal.

The Lithuanian foreign minister said that even though it was clear that the Commission’s updated proposal was of technical nature, it did not address any of the three main problems that Lithuania was concerned about, i.e., capping for cohesion allocations, not uniform level of Common Agricultural Policy direct payments, and inadequate financing of the decommissioning of Ignalina nuclear power plant.

The Cyprus Presidency of the EU Council informed Ministers for European Affairs about recent bilateral meetings with EU member states and about time plan to achieve an agreement on the EU budget 2014-2020 during this half-year.

Lithuania has criticized the EC proposals, which could cut the EU structural assistance to Lithuania in the new financial perspective. Lithuania also seeks to secure more money for Ignalina's closure and faster unification of payments for farmers from the organization's old and new members.

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