Lietuva in brief - 2009-10-01

  • 2009-10-01
President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek will visit Lithuania on Oct. 1-2, reports ELTA. In the evening of the first day of the visit he will have a dinner with Seimas Speaker Irena Degutiene. On Friday, Oct. 2, Buzek will have meetings with President Dalia Grybauskaite, Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, the Seimas speaker and elders of parliamentary groups as well as students of the European Humanitarian University. Buzek, former Polish prime minister, was elected the new European Parliament President in July, 2009. The 68-year-old politician was elected after the first round of voting. Buzek is the first European Parliament President who comes from Eastern Europe. He replaced German Hans-Gert Poettering in the office. Buzek is the author of many research papers, member of the Polish Academy of

President Dalia Grybauskaite believes that [State Social Insurance Fund Board] SoDra has to cover its deficit by reducing its spending on social benefits, reports ELTA. The President refused to comment on the bail-out plan for SoDra presented by the government last week and said that it was too early to evaluate the national agreement. The president says that pension cuts are inevitable. "The budgetary situation of SoDra is very complicated; 2.5 billion litas (723.8 million euros) is a large deficit. At least half of it should be covered from the reserves of SoDra itself or by cutting some expenditure, including some social benefits. There is no other way-out," Grybauskaite said. The plan to save SoDra foresees cutting pensions, annuities, and social benefits by 5-20 percent, revising state social insurance pensions, maternity benefits, and payments to working pensioners, reforming the system of children's benefits and raising the tariff of social security contributions by 2 percent.