In Brief

Lithuanian President Fears Huge Reduction in Budget Post Brexit

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has said that her country could lose around a fifth of its budget due to Brexit. Even though she didn’t reveal the exact figure, given that the 2017 budget amounted to 140 billion euros, the financial black hole could be as big as 28 billion euros.

“Negotiations on the budget are currently in their initial phase,” Mrs Grybauskaite told reporters. “EU member states will have to decide how to provide sufficient funding to ongoing programmes and to future priority projects. Obviously, there is a wish to finish the budget before the European parliamentary election in 2019. However, agreement is usually reached moments before the new financial long-term perspective comes into force.”

The Lithuanian leader also called for direct payments made to her country’s farmers to be as close as possible to those received by their counterparts in the EU’s older member states.

“One of the key budget priorities for Lithuania is to achieve a level of direct payments to its farmers as close as possible to that of the old-timers. It is the only way to create equal competitive conditions for all EU farmers,” she said. “Even though Lithuania’s level of development is nearing the European average, differences between the economic welfare of member states are still there. It is therefore very important to allocate sufficient funds for cohesion in order to ensure Lithuania’s rapid development.”

Mrs Grybauskaite also emphasised the need for EU funding for strategic projects such as the Rail Baltica transport corridor and power grid synchronisation.

“These projects, which will contribute to EU economic integration, are crucial to the security and well-being of the region,” she said.