VILNIUS – Almost 200 million euros in emigration compensation, stipulated in the EU draft budget for Lithuania, should remain irrespective of the outcome of the negotiations, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said after the EU summit in Brussels where leaders failed to agree on the 2021-2027 budget.
"Our argument on depopulation has reached the hearts and minds of Brussels specialists, and because of that we now have almost 200 million euros more," Nauseda told journalists on Friday night. "I believe that achievement will not go anywhere as it has been already affirmed."
Compensation for countries that have lost a lot of their citizens had been included into the draft budget published on the eve of the summit.
If this provision is confirmed, the money will be added to the so-called cohesion funding aimed at reducing backwardness of Europe's poorest regions.
Nauseda believes it's logical to demand compensation, taking into account the fact that people who left contribute to the development of Western European economies, and emigration has increased pressure on Lithuania's social system.
"We are a paying country and a net contributor in some sense as our people who left Lithuania just because wages were higher in the West are our contribution to the EU wellbeing," the Lithuanian president said.
"They left and contribute to economic growth there. On the other hand, pressure on our social systems (…) has been increasing. So it’s a completely logical to demand some sort of compensation," Nauseda said.
Nevertheless, he said, the latest budget proposal was not ambitious enough, and vowed to continue negotiations on higher cohesion and agricultural funding.
"In our view, this proposal is not ambitious enough to implement not only cohesion goals but also the goals of the Common Agricultural Policy," Nauseda said.
He hopes the new budget will be approved over a month.