Numbers don’t add up

  • 2010-12-08
  • From wire reports

VILNIUS - Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius so far has not considered his resignation because he does not believe that the Seimas could pass the law on restoring pensions to the pre-crisis levels without stating the sources of funding in advance, reports ELTA. “I really do not believe that the Seimas could adopt such unconstitutional laws: increasing spending without stating any funding sources to cover it. This is why I am still not considering what happens if the Seimas acts against the Constitution,” Kubilius told reporters on Dec. 2.

The draft law amends the transitional law on recalculation and payment of social benefits, which provided for the reduction of state pensions and state social security benefits by Dec. 31, 2010. The existing law stipulates that the reduced pensions and other social benefits would be paid until the end of 2011.
According to the prime minister, such a decision would require over 600 million litas (174.1 million euros) in additional funds. “The budget has no such money, and the opposition has not proposed any reasonable additional sources to cover such spending yet,” said Kubilius.

The prime minister said that such irresponsibility of the opposition was surprising and perplexing. “Populism just rules, be it the dissolution of the Seimas or the reduction of the number of MPs or proposals to pluck an additional 600 million litas out of the air,” the prime minister said.

The Seimas postponed the deliberation of restoring the reduced pensions to the pre-crisis level until Dec. 7. The break until the next sitting was requested by Kubilius. The government and the Seimas Committee on Budget and Finance were to consider proposals for the sources to finance the restoration of pensions this week. On Dec. 2, the Seimas voted three times to approve the Commission for Ethics and Procedures’ conclusions, which said that the debate on the draft law providing for canceling cutbacks in pensions did not violate the Statute of the Seimas.