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REGION DE LA SEMAINE

Lithuania

(23 - 01 - 2013)

Lithuania

The recently appointed Lithuanian Minister for Finance Mr Rimantas Šadžius met Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn on 23 January 2013 to discuss a future agenda in the field of regional policy for the second half of 2013 in view of the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council.

To date, Lithuania is the Member State absorbing EU regional funds best. Since the beginning of the 2007-2013 period, 3239 projects are already implemented and more than 3000 projects are under implementation now.

 

What are the country's priorities?

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

 

 

54.6% of the 2007–2013 Structural Funds investments in Lithuania are earmarked for promoting the Lisbon Strategy objectives. Around 80% of funds contribute to the achievement of two priorities of EU2020 strategy: smart and sustainable growth. It is estimated that 52% of EU Structural Funds directly contribute to the implementation of the Baltic Sea Strategy.

 

Located in the Baltic Sea Region, Lithuania has a population of 2.98 million. In 2009 the GDP per capita amounted to 58% of the EU average. Lithuania is therefore a convergence region.

 

How has EU regional policy contributed?

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.

In 2009, due to the economic and financial crisis Lithuania went through a deep recession and GDP decreased by 14.8 %. Lithuania returned to growth in 2010 (+1.4 %). In 2011, economic growth picked up significantly and reached 5.9 % and the country's GDP per capita in PPS increased to 61.9% of the EU average.

Extensive use of EU regional funding became one of the key responses to the economic and financial crisis and Lithuania ranks first among Member States as regards the payment rate of EU Structural Funds.

Lithuania became eligible for cohesion policy support when the country joined the EU in 2004. During the 2004-2006 period, 3524 projects were implemented and a total of 19525 jobs were created with the EU Funds assistance. Lithuanian GDP was 2.1% higher in 2008 compared to a scenario without EU investment.

 

Project examples

- Development of R&D Infrastructure of Food Science and Technology and Consolidation of Scientific Potential: EU contribution EUR 2.076.010

For the first time in Lithuania, a new centre of food science was established in order to have successful functioning of a science, studies and business centre, equipped with modern technological and testing equipment, with highly qualified scientists and researchers. The aim of the project is to contribute to a more active development of food science and technology in Lithuania by consolidating scientific potential and expanding infrastructure. The material base of 5 scientific laboratories of the Centre of Food Science and Technology has been expanded to 8 laboratories and centres and the Food Institute has been integrated to the Kaunas University of Technology. 19 systems of scientific equipment were purchased; allocated premises were reconstructed under the measure of consolidation of scientific potential. All project activities have been successfully implemented. Food engineering, technology and quality research equipment which allows modelling, optimising and research of food production and storage in a controlled atmosphere, is now concentrated in one place.

 

-  Regeneration of Druskininkai Town : EU contribution: EUR 11.580.000

In the town of Druskininkai, a skiing indoor complex has been installed with three slopes for beginners and professionals, snow entertainment zone, catering places, children playgrounds, rental of equipment and clothes and shops. It is expected that 528,264 visitors will come to the Skiing Centre in 3 years after opening it. This project is a good example of pubic private partnership. EU investment attracted 19,98 MEUR of private investments. Also jobs have been created in this area which suffers from a high unemployment rate. Since the nearest indoors skiing centres are over 1000 km in Moscow (Russia), it is expected that this skiing centre could be visited by winter sports enthusiasts from Poland, Belarus, Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and other countries.

 

- Improving SME financing conditions to tackle economic recession through financial engineering:  EU contribution: EUR 278.292.400

This project started 2009 as Lithuania got hit very hard by the economic crisis. Financial engineering is a new form of mobilisation of EU funds into privately-managed financial instruments, such as for example risk capital funds to encourage the establishment of innovative Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME). It also aims at improving access to finance (loans, guarantees etc.) primarily to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and activating private investments by improving at Member States level the institutional, legal and commercial environment. Private investments are attracted to leverage public funds. In order to implement the project, two holding funds have been established as well as a guarantee Fund of revolving nature - it enables to re-use the money for the purposes of supporting other SME entities.

 

- Baltic Seaside Zone Management Programme : EU contribution EUR 6.255.000

The project is designed to strengthen recreational Baltic Sea beaches, preserve and restore the coastal ecosystem, increase resistance to the effects of intense erosion processes and promote the sustainable coastal development in the region. The project is contributing to the implementation of Baltic Sea Strategy under the priority „Preserving natural zones and biodiversity, including fisheries".

 

Further information