The European Union has earmarked 1 billion litas (300 million euros) in grants from the Cohesion Fund for Lithuania's transport infrastructure projects in 2004 - 2006. An additional 132.9 million litas in aid will be allocated for seven projects under the ISPA program over three years. Total financial assistance from the EU's Cohesion Fund and European Regional Development Fund to the country's transport sector should reach 1.54 billion litas by 2006.
Transport Minister Zigmantas Balcytis said Lithuania was ready to absorb all the EU money available for transport projects, and the ministry has submitted applications to the European Commission for the financing of five projects, the total costs of which are estimated at around 516 million litas. Lithuania expects to put forward projects worth 833.7 million litas for the Cohesion Fund this year.
Estonian Agriculture Minister Ester Tuiksoo proposed that the European Commission prohibit mechanically deboned meat from being traded among EU member states without any restrictions until 2006. The minister suggested that the possibility of trade in mechanically separated meat be preserved until 2006 only on the basis of member states' bilateral agreements.
"Our wish is to preserve for Estonia the existing situation that allows us to carry on a policy of strict control over quality and safety requirements to [mechanically separated meat]," the ministry quoted Tuiksoo as saying. In the first four months of this year about 2,000 tons of such meat were imported into the Baltic state. Imports from non-EU countries is not permitted.
Under a new food hygiene regulation passed by the European Parliament and Council, trade in mechanically deboned meat within the EU will be deregulated beginning Jan. 1, 2006.
Latvia's Justice Ministry specialists have started revising legislative acts adopted by the government over the past year to detect mistakes admitted by lawmakers. Most of them were made in a rush due to EU accession time pressure, the ministry said. Ministry spokeswoman Iveta Gruberte said some shortcomings already had been found, though they were "nothing substantial." The ministry will report the shortcomings to the authors of the legislative acts in question.