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REGION OF THE WEEK:

Lithuania

Lithuania

29/03/2012

Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn will be visiting Lithuania on 29th March. He will meet with H.E. Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania, Andrius Kubilius, Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania and other members of the Lithuanian Government. He will visit one EU financed project in Vilnius University Hospital „Santariškių klinikos" as well.

 

What are the country's priorities?

Located in the Baltic Sea Region, Lithuania has a population of 3.3 million. In 2009 the GDP per capita amounted to 58% of the EU average. Lithuania is therefore a convergence region.

For the 2007–2013 period, Lithuania has identified the following priorities for EU regional funding during the period 2007-2013:


  • promote knowledge society, research and innovation


  • accelerate long–term economic growth


  • create more and better workplaces


  • develop social cohesion
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    How has EU regional policy contributed?

    Lithuania became eligible for cohesion policy support when the country joined the EU in 2004. The overall aim of the 2004-2006 Single Programming Document (SPD) was to reduce the lagging behind in relation to the European average in a very short time. Above all, the absence of basic infrastructure had to be addressed and a considerable amount of funding was allocated to meet the needs in this field. In terms of results:

    • 3524 projects were implemented.


    • GDP was 2.1% higher in 2008 compared to a scenario without interventions from the Single Programming Document.


    • a total of 19525 jobs were created.
    • During the 2007-2013 period, the total Structural and Cohesion funds allocation for Lithuania amounts to EUR 6.885 billion. Four operational programmes (OPs) are being implemented during the current programming period, two of which are jointly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF): OP Promotion of Cohesion and OP Economic Growth. The other two programmes are funded by the European Social Fund.

      The purpose of Operational Programme Promotion of Cohesion is to improve standards of living throughout the country, from both economic and social points of view. This should provide a basis for stable sustainable economic development in the long term. The Operational Programme Economic Growth aims to speed up economic growth in the long term so as to close the development gap between Lithuania and the EU average.

       

      Project examples

      • The RAIN project with a EU contribution of EUR 42,606,600 will vastly improve access to broadband in rural areas, bringing coverage to 98% and helping to eliminate the digital divide, increase social cohesion and contribute to economic growth and a more competitive rural sector. Some 4 400 km of broadband cables will be laid, with network infrastructure and connection points installed. As a result, 660 000 citizens, 2 000 businesses and 9 000 public institutions will be ready to benefit from the powerful broadband tool.

      • National Centre for Physical and Technological Sciences: With a EU contribution of EUR 49,309,300,Vilnius University teamed up with four partners to develop this centre. It will concentrate on three areas of research: laser technology, material science and nanotechnology, and semiconductor. The project works include the construction and fitting out of a cutting-edge R&D centre covering a surface area of 25 000 m2, providing a home for leading research teams.
      • The development of industrial lasers for micro machinery has given four specialist companies in Lithuania the leading edge in the global market for micro machinery and diagnostics. Ekspla, Light Conversion, Optida, and Standa combined forces to design more advanced, powerful and robust lasers for industrial use with a EU contribution of EUR 1, 090, 0000.
      • Modern Tele Surgery Centre at Vilnius University Hospital Santariškių Klinikos: This project will be visited by Commissioner Johannes Hahn. The objective of this project is to modernise specialised surgical study programmes by introducing modern technologies to facilitate the acquisition of the necessary practical skills essential for modern surgical practice.
        For this purpose telemedicine technologies intended for the direct tuition of specialist trainees have been installed, as well as surgical procedure simulators for innovative tuition and training in practical skills in a virtual environment.
        The project was conceived on the basis of successful experiences in other countries where telesurgery technology is employed. Also known as remote surgery, tele surgery is a type of surgery that combines robotics with modern technology. When telesurgery is performed, a surgeon does not have to be in the same physical location as a patient. Instead, surgery is performed using special instruments that respond to high-speed data and management information programs.
        Many different operations have already been conducted via telesurgery all over the globe. There are many different advantages to this type of surgery. Frequently, people who live in remote locations do not have professional surgeons readily available. Prior to telesurgery, these people were forced to travel great distances in order to benefit from a surgical procedure.
        The project was implemented between 27 September 2007 and 30 November 2010 and benefited from a ERDF contribution of around EUR 1,400,000.

       

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