VILNIUS – Compensating residents for high electricity prices should be the government's priority this and next year, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda says, adding that completing or suspending the electricity market liberalization process alone will not reduce prices.
"There's an emerging misconception that liberalization means high prices, while ending or stopping liberalization means low prices. This should not be linked to liberalization as an action itself, but, first of all, it should be linked to what kind of compensation we are ready to pay our people, to subsidize electricity, and how much public money we are going to spend on it," Nauseda told reporters on Wednesday.
"The priority for all government institutions, including all political parties, both ruling and non-ruling, is to make sure we get through this difficult period when people are experiencing a huge financial burden and will continue to do so in the future due to both the lack of power generation in Lithuania and the general market trends pushing prices to extreme highs," the president said.
Nauseda also said he had talked to Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte about compensating for electricity prices being a priority, adding that "all other priorities can wait“.
"I do hope that will all unanimously agree to refrain from those things that are not the most necessary before the budget debate and we should focus on helping our people to cope with the energy price shock," the Lithuanian president said.
Earlier this week, the prime minister aid compensating residents for high electricity and gas prices would need 0.5-1 billion euros taken from next year's budget.
"I don't want to say billions, certainly much more than the 160 million we have paid so far. But we have to make savings in other places to maintain financial discipline as much as possible", Nauseda said.