VILNIUS – Lithuania will use borrowed funds, at least for now, to erect a fence along the border with Belarus as it is not clear yet whether it will be able to apply for EU funding for the project, Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said on Wednesday.
"Funding will come from the state budget for now," Simonyte told reporters after the Cabinet's meeting. "Given that the budget balance is negative [...], this will simply mean borrowed funds."
"We will be able to appeal [for help], but whether we will be able to apply for EU financial support remains an open question for now," she said, adding that other member states on the EU's external borders may raise this issue too, because "the risk we are facing is not specific to Lithuania".
The government intends to approve a package of legislative amendments to speed up the construction of the fence on Friday and to submit it to the parliament during its extraordinary session next week, according to the prime minister.
The Lithuanian State Border Guard Service (VSAT) proposes to erect a four-meter-high wire mesh fence along the border with Belarus, estimated to cost more than 150 million euros in total.
So far his year, over 4,000 irregular migrants have been detained in Lithuania, compared to 81 in the whole of 2020.
Lithuania has declared a state-level extreme situation over the unprecedented migration influx which it says is being orchestrated by the Belarusian regime.