Lithuania on April 4 approved a special fund to manage compensation for Jewish property seized by Nazi Germany during World War II and then kept by the Soviet regime, reports AFP. “This is a very important decision after 15 years of discussions”, Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said. The move allows the distribution of 128 million litas (37 million euros) which Lithuania pledged to earmark from 2013-2023 under a law adopted last year. “Such decisions are important for all of us, for historic justice, and we have made a big step in realizing our moral responsibility towards history, sometimes difficult and tragic history,” said Kubilius. The fund financing religious, health-care, educational and cultural programs in Lithuania will be administered by Lithuanian and international Jewish community organizations. Simonas Alperavicius, leader of the Lithuanian-Jewish community, hailed the move as “a very important decision for the whole of Lithuania, not only the Jews. Jews are always accompanied by miracles. One miracle has happened today,” he said.
The sum of 916 million litas (265.5 million euros) will be allocated from the Lithuanian state budget for the development of the road network and implementation of traffic safety measures, the Transport Ministry said, reports ELTA. Together with EU support funding, which will be 270 million litas, the total sum of investment will reach almost 1.2 billion litas. “Considering the comparatively good condition of the main national roads, the prime attention in 2012 will be paid to regional roads going via minor towns,” said Eligijus Masiulis, Minister of Transport and Communications. This year’s funding of pedestrian and bicycle paths will grow by more than twice. Almost 31.5 million litas will be allocated to various road traffic safety programs and education activities.