Berlin Summit: Western Balkans strengthen regional cooperation and strengthen ties with EU
The European Commission has adopted a positive assessment of Lithuania’s recovery and resilience plan. This is an important step towards the EU disbursing € 2.2 billion in grants under the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism (FRR). This funding will support the implementation of critical investment and reform measures outlined in Lithuania’s Recovery and Resilience Plan. He will play a key role in enabling Lithuania to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The RRF is at the heart of NextGenerationEU which will provide € 800 billion (at current prices) to support investment and reform across the EU. The Lithuanian plan is part of an unprecedented coordinated EU response to the COVID-19 crisis, to address common European challenges by embracing green and digital transitions, to strengthen economic and social resilience and market cohesion unique.
The Commission assessed Lithuania’s plan on the basis of the criteria set out in the RRF Regulation. The Commission’s analysis notably examined whether the investments and reforms foreseen in the Lithuanian plan support the green and digital transitions; contribute effectively to tackling the challenges identified in the European Semester; and strengthen its potential for growth, job creation and economic and social resilience.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “I am delighted to present the positive assessment of the European Commission on the Lithuanian Recovery and Resilience Plan. Lithuania’s plan focuses on investments and reforms that will accelerate its digital and green transitions. This includes substantial investments in clean energy and high speed internet networks which will make the Lithuanian economy more sustainable, dynamic and innovative. With the support of NextGenerationEU, we can ensure that the benefits of digital and green transitions are shared by all. We will be by your side every step of the way to ensure that your plan becomes a success.
Ensuring Lithuania’s green and digital transition
The Commission’s assessment reveals that the Lithuanian plan devotes 38% of its total allocation to measures that support the achievement of climate targets. The plan includes reforms and investments to develop renewable energy power plants and create public and private energy storage facilities. These measures are complemented by reforms and investments to phase out the most polluting road transport vehicles, increase the share of renewable energy sources in the transport sector and accelerate the renovation of buildings by supporting the production of modular elements. for renovation from organic materials.
The Commission’s assessment of the Lithuanian plan reveals that it devotes 32% of its total allocation to measures that support the digital transition. The plan includes significant investments in connectivity, with particular emphasis on the widespread deployment of broadband networks and the development of 2,000 km of broadband connectivity infrastructure in rural and remote areas. The plan also foresees significant investments in e-governance and the development of AI solutions for the Lithuanian language.
Strengthening Lithuania’s economic and social resilience
The plan includes a broad package of mutually reinforcing reforms and investments that contribute effectively to tackling all or an important subset of the economic and social challenges described in the country-specific recommendations addressed to Lithuania by the Council to the European semester courses in 2019 and 2020..
The resilience, quality, accessibility and efficiency of the health system should be improved through the modernization of health establishments, the development of centers of expertise in infectious diseases and the digitization of the health system. The long-recognized challenges related to the efficiency and quality of the education system are being addressed by the consolidation of the school network, the modernization of general education, the improvement of vocational education and training, as well as adult learning, improving higher education funding and admissions system as well as promoting research and the internationalization of universities. The merger of existing innovation promotion agencies should make research and innovation policies more effective. The reform of the protection of the guaranteed minimum income, as well as the increase in the coverage of the unemployment insurance scheme, the complete review of benefits and the improvement of the pension indexation mechanism, should increase the adequacy of the net. security system and build social resilience.
The plan represents a comprehensive and adequately balanced response to the economic and social situation in Lithuania, thus contributing appropriately to the six pillars referred to in the RRF Regulation.
Support flagship investment and reform projects
The Lithuanian plan proposes projects in the seven key European areas. These are specific investment projects, which address issues common to all Member States in areas that create jobs and growth and are necessary for the double transition. For example, Lithuania proposed to invest 242 million euros to develop offshore and onshore wind and solar power generation and to create public and private energy storage facilities and to invest 341 million euros to phase out the most polluting road transport vehicles and increase the share of renewable energy sources in the transport sector.
The evaluation also finds that none of the measures included in the plan significantly harm the environment, in accordance with the requirements set out in the RRF Regulation.
The control systems put in place by Lithuania are considered adequate to protect the financial interests of the Union. The plan provides sufficient detail on how national authorities will prevent, detect and correct cases of conflict of interest, corruption and fraud related to the use of funds.
An economy that works for people Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President, said: “Lithuania’s recovery plan will boost its economic growth and put it on a solid footing for the future as Europe prepares for the transition green and digital. It aims to modernize Lithuania’s health and education systems, strengthen social protection and improve the efficiency of its tax and benefit system. We welcome the plan’s emphasis on major projects of common European interest, in particular in the field of clean energies, such as wind and solar power generation and the phasing out of polluting road transport vehicles. . This plan will help Lithuania to emerge stronger from the crisis. We will stand with Lithuania to fully implement it. “
The Commission today adopted a proposal for a Council Implementing Decision to provide € 2.2 billion in grants to Lithuania under the RRF. The Council will now generally have four weeks to adopt the Commission proposal.
The approval of the plan by the Council would allow the payment of 289 million euros to Lithuania as pre-financing. This represents 13% of the total amount allocated to Lithuania.
The Commission will authorize further disbursements on the basis of the satisfactory achievement of the milestones and targets set in the Council’s implementing decision, reflecting the progress made in the implementation of investments and reforms.
Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said: “Lithuania’s plan will unlock € 2.2 billion in European support for the country’s efforts to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Investments in electric car charging stations and clean buses, building renovations and peatland restoration will give a strong boost to the country’s climate and ecological efforts, while the public and private sectors will benefit from the deployment of large-scale networks. speed, including in remote areas. . I particularly welcome the strong social dimension of the plan, with reforms aimed at improving the quality of education and health care, increasing unemployment insurance coverage and providing additional benefits to vulnerable groups.