- December 10, 2012
The new government plans and promises
The newly-appointed government has prepared a project of its program, which is going to come up for debate on Tuesday. Among others, the new cabinet plans to regulate the question of name spelling. The 69-page project has already been criticized by experts.
In addition, the new government promises to raise the salaries of officials, to increase the minimum wage, and to encourage job creation. The ministers are also willing to change the present taxation system, i.e. to revise the issue of income and social security taxes, as well as to join the property tax with the land tax.
According to the program, Lithuania is going to continue to build power connections with Poland and Sweden, to support the construction of the LPG terminal, to build the gas connection with Poland, and to encourage the search and output of shale gas. Moreover, the cabinet intends to prepare a long-term program of supporting the production and use of renewable energy, and to increase the use of biofuels in thermal energetics.
The new government promises to invest primarily in areas that guarantee a permanent economic benefit, i.e. in the development of infrastructure and the construction industry, or in the renovation of buildings. Among the government’s priorities there is also support for families, which should lead to an increase in the birth rate. Thus, the cabinet announces i.a. concessions for young families who want to buy a flat, the reintroduction of some social benefits for families with children, as well as free meals for elementary school students.
The program also contains a compliment to national minorities. “We are going to deal with the question of given name spelling in documents, as well as with the spelling of street and town names, according to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities,” as we read in the project.
Although the project has not come up for debate yet, some economists have already criticized the vague proposals presented by the ministers. An expert of the Lithuanian Free Market Institute (Laisvosios rinkos institutas), Rūta Vainienė, said in “24/7” (a program of Lietuvos Ryto TV): “I have counted all generalities mentioned in the governmental program. Thus, the phrase “we are going to strive” appears 107 times in the document, “we are going to support” – 54 times, “we are going to create” – 41 times, “we are going to encourage” – 88 times, “we are going to increase” – 42 times. Still, no specific goals to achieve are mentioned anywhere. True, some parts of the program are indeed quite specific, but if generalities prevail, it is possible not to put anything into practice, or to interpret the guidelines very freely.”
The government will be allowed to work only when the Seimas officially approves its program, a vote on which is going to take place on Thursday, December 13th.
Based on BNS, lrytas.lt, Radio “Znad Wilii” (“On the Neris”), and the author’s own information.
Tłumaczenie Natalia Błędowska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Natalia Błędowska the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.