- December 19, 2021
Important bills by EAPL–CFA were submitted to the parliament
Today, flagship bills of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania-Christian Families Alliance were submitted to the parliament for consideration by the opposition fractions – the draft Act on National Minorities, the Lustration Act, the Act on the Taxation of Financial Institutions, and the resolution on the remedial plan to reduce the burden on residents due to price increases. The bills were submitted by the Lithuanian Regions Political Group.
The resolution obliges the government to take a number of steps to reduce the effects of inflation on households, such as analysis of excise policy and reduction of excise duty on fuel, VAT differentiation and introduction of 5% VAT on the most necessary food products, and additional VAT reduction on centralized heating, gas, hot water, and fuel for heating of residential houses. The initiator of the resolution, EAPL–CFA Member of Parliament Rita Tamašunienė, emphasized the need to reduce the effects of inflation on the prices of goods, services, and children’s education by increasing child benefits to EUR 100 in 2022 and EUR 120 in 2023, ensuring an increase in social benefits and pensions as well as their indexation depending on the inflation rates. The resolution also calls for financial aid for small and medium-sized enterprises and the development of a mechanism to compensate for the growing maintenance costs of local municipal and transport enterprises.
The draft resolution was sent back for amendments at first reading. The next reading was scheduled for Thursday, December 16.
The parliament rejected the bill on national minorities, arguing that it was unconstitutional. Voting on the bill, similarly to voting on the Lustration Act, was initially postponed due to the insufficient number of MPs present in the room. In the case of an opinion on non-compliance with the Constitution, more than half of the votes of all MPs are needed for the bill to be processed. After the vote was announced, when 120 members met in the meeting room, both bills were rejected.
“The old law on national minorities worked together with the Constitution for many years,” emphasized Rita Tamašunienė – “At that time, it was not said that it was inconsistent with the fundamental law, the more so as the new bills submitted do not differ much from the old act on the basis of which our draft was written.”
“Certainly, this is not our last attempt to statutorily guarantee the rights of national minorities,” the MP assured – “All issues related to the protection of national minority languages, education in minority languages, topographical names and the use of minority languages in public life in areas densely inhabited by national minorities are still valid.”
The act on taxation of financial institutions, which has been rejected at first reading, returned to the parliament after a long time. Rita Tamašunienė, presenting a not-so-new project, pointed out that in periods of successful economic development, banks never reduced the prices of services. Moreover, most of the banks operating in Lithuania are subsidiaries of foreign banks, which can transfer most of their profits to their home banks, while in times of rising inflation, banks could contribute to building the country’s economy through the tax on assets.
Translated by Marta Graban within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.