Only 21 percent of available EU funds have been used in Lithuania

  • 2006-10-13
  • By TBT staff
Lithuania is running out of time to use financial assistance from the European Union - latest reports suggest that only 21 percent of the 905 million litas (262 million euros) of EU Structural Funds have been spent as of Oct., 2006. Almost 4.2 billion litas were granted to Lithuania for 2004-2006, the daily newspaper Lietuvos Rytas reported. The European Affairs Committee in parliament has decided to set up a task force to present recommendations on speeding up the usage of EU funds. According to the daily, the slowest movement of funds was in the Social Security and Labor Ministry, where 7 percent of allocated funds have been put to use. The Fisheries Department under the Ministry of Agriculture utilized the highest percentage of funds, putting 43 percent into action. Rules for usage of EU assistance dictate that funds must be spent within two years after signing a contract. The situation is expected to change by 2008. The deadline for signing contracts is Dec. 31 2006. So far, contracts have been signed for 82 percent of all funds, which means that almost 1 billion litas in EU financial support may be left unspent.