D. Grybauskaitė: the EU will owe us
Lithuanian farmers will not receive the sort of direct grants from the EU as were promised already in 2013. “This means that the EU will owe us,” Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė told LRT Radio before departing to negotiations on the EU’s new budget. However, the situation could be even worse. According to the president, if the UK will not depart the EU as planned due to political chaos, the budget, which does not satisfy Lithuania already, will decline even further.
The president points out that there is political chaos in the UK, which is only deepening, with the British prime minister's weakening further due to her deciding to cancel the vote on the departure agreement. All of this, according to D. Grybauskaitė precludes a renegotiation of the departure conditions.
The president explains that the EU's budget will depend on the outcome of Brexit proceedings. Failing to come to an agreement would lead to at least a 10% decrease in the European budget for all countries, she notes and could lead to an even less appealing budget project for Lithuania, which is already based on the UK agreeing to pay its exit fee.
Three areas are of particular concern to Lithuania in the budget, according to D. Grybauskaitė. Firstly, structural funds, the contributions of which have been proposed to decrease an entire 24% for Lithuania because it has exceeded 75% of the EU's average GDP per capita. The president notes that a transitory period will be requested to avoid a sudden drop in funding.
The second core issue is proposals on agriculture. President Grybauskaitė highlights that the country is disappointed because the direct grants negotiated in 2013 will not be reached by the end of this financial period, leaving the EU owing Lithuania. "The proposals on direct grants are completely unsuitable to all the Baltic States, as are other parameters on agriculture support and the reduction of other funds. Thus, we will need to unite regarding this and of course, our position will be joint as it was last time in 2013," the president stated.
The third European budget issue is the support for the closure of Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant. Thanks to Jean-Claude Juncker, Lithuania obtained a separate budget line for this, with the funding being even larger than this year. However, the president notes that even more funding will be needed and will be requested.