The royal Palace project has already amounted to 176 million litas (50 million euro)
VILNIUS 's The Lithuanian parliament and government are looking for anadditional 18-20 million litas (5.2-5.8 million euro) for the construction ofthe Royal Palace in Vilnius.
At a meeting at the President's Office, President Valdas Adamkus, patron ofthe Royal Palace, former president Algirdas Brazauskas, Parliamentary SpeakerArunas Valinskas, Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, Finance Minister AlgirdasSemeta and Culture Minister Remigijus Vilkaitis decided that the government andthe parliament should consider the possibilities of getting funds so that thepalace could be opened in mid-summer.
This year's budget stipulates over 44 million litas for the Royal Palace,however, according to palace spokesperson Rita Grumadaite, the sum may beinsufficient for getting the premises ready for honored guests at the plannedopening of the facilities on July 6, 2009.
"The president called for an answer whether under these hardshipconditions we could come up with the funds and hold a spectacular millenniumcelebration - welcome top-ranking guests, open the (Royal) Palace for thepublic - or openly admit that there will be no additional money and revise thescenario of the celebration to make it smaller and more economic," saidGrumadaite.
Prime Minister Kubilius, did not rule out the possibility of finding 18-20million litas in the country's tight budget.
"In the nearest future, we will make proposals to the parliament oncutting the spending by approximately 2.7-3 billion litas. The budget willamount to 16-17 billion litas, so 18 million litas can be found. The questionis whether the 18 million litas would become a broader consensus or triggerenormous quarrels and anger," said the premier.
Brazauskas, Lithuania's former president who heads the Royal Palacecommission, said that the funds necessary for the Royal Palace could beallocated from privatization reserves rather than from the state budget.
Opening of the Royal Palace in central Vilnius is scheduled for July 2009and is advertised as a highlight of the celebration 1,000 years since the firstmention of Lithuania's name.
Rebuilding of the Royal Palace is among the largest cultural investmentprojects in the history of independent Lithuania, with 176 million litasalready spent for the construction, acquisition of exhibits and administrationby now.
Destroyed 200 years ago, the Royal Palace of the Lower Castle of Vilnius isbeing rebuilt on the remains discovered in the 1987-2001 period.