Lietuva in brief - 2009-10-07

  • 2009-10-07
President Dalia Grybauskaite and Seimas Speaker Irena Degutiene question the need of a 2-percent increase in social security contributions, reports ELTA. Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius however looks to Estonia, which has raised contributions by 3 percent to solve social insurance problems. He says "We can discuss whether the increase in SoDra contributions is the only possibility of covering the deficit in SoDra… The possibilities of solving the problem are very painful: either cut pensions more than planned, or reduce maternity benefits more, cut teachers' salaries, because these are the budget lines that have seen most increases since 2006, or reduce the funding of healthcare and doctors' salaries at the same time." The government extended funds for the fourth time this year, with an additional loan of 460 million litas (133 million euros). SoDra has to start paying back the loan in 2017.

The Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs together with the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite met to discuss future foreign policy in respect to the country's interests and changes in international politics, reports ELTA. On the prospects of cooperation with Eastern neighbors, the President wants to tone down the sharp rhetoric and build relations on mutual respect and pragmatic interests. This will not hamper but, on the contrary, contribute to the delivery of such goals as compensation for damage done by Soviet Russia's occupation, called for by Lithuanians in a referendum. She urged the Committee to cooperate in addressing energy security and in deliberating on the new concept for NATO. According to the President, Lithuania will look for a commitment by the Allies to defend each other, in the face of new threats in the same way as such defense is written in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty concerning territorial defense.