Today, the Commission has adopted its Partnership Agreement with Lithuania, laying down Lithuania’s investment strategy worth €6.4 billion in cohesion policy funding for the period 2021-2027. The cohesion policy funds will continue to support Lithuania’s regions in promoting economic, social and territorial cohesion, supporting key EU priorities such as the green and digital transition. The funds will also contribute to the country’s competitive, innovative and sustainable growth.
For a greener and more innovative Lithuania
Lithuania has planned over €2.1 billion (almost 33% of the total) in investments to support the green transition in line with the EU Green Deal, ultimately contributing to the country’s energy security. In particular, the country aims to renovate 4,000 multi-apartment buildings, and to work towards its national targets of 50% of electricity and 67% of heating to be produced from renewable sources. A sizeable share of funds will be devoted to the protection of biodiversity, and the development of the circular economy and sustainable, environment friendly transport.
Lithuania will also allocate €954 million in transforming its economy by investing in research and innovation, cooperation between science and business, and the commercialisation of knowledge. Priority will be given to the deployment of digital cutting-edge technologies to increase productivity and overall competitiveness of small and medium businesses.
More social cohesion
Lithuania will strongly promote social cohesion, with more than €1.8 billion (corresponding to about 29%) allocated to this objective. The funds will help implement the country-specific recommendations to Lithuania of 2020 in the context of the European Semester. These include recommendations on reducing poverty and income inequality by improving the design of the tax and benefit system and providing better access to good quality social and health services.
Lithuania will also improve access to inclusive education services, especially for those most in need. The country plans to use the EU funds to continue the transition from institutional to community-based care services. The investments will allow more people to acquire labour market relevant skills necessary for the digital and green transition. Support for food and basic material assistance will be provided to the most vulnerable.
Involving local citizens in developing projects on the ground
Around €962 million are dedicated to supporting sustainable urban development and the integrated territorial development in rural and non-urban areas. Citizens and local administrations will be involved and put more at the centre of decision making, from drafting territorial strategies to the project implementation on the ground.
The fisheries programme, worth around €61 million, will improve the conditions for fishing activities and contribute to reducing the environmental impact of fishing. It will also support data collection and implementation of control measures.
Members of the College said:
Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “I am happy to welcome the third Partnership Agreement for 2021-2027. The adoption of Partnership Agreements is speeding up! The adoption of this strategic investment framework will guide Lithuania on the path to becoming greener, more digital, more innovative and more resilient. Cohesion policy funding will support all citizens, wherever they are in the country, because cohesion policy is the instrument for all regions to reap the benefits of growth and for leaving internal disparities in the past.”
Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, said: “I welcome that Lithuania is allocating around a third of its cohesion policy funds to social cohesion measures. Providing quality social services, healthcare and access to education will help reduce the number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Funding from the European Social Fund Plus will also allow many people in Lithuania to acquire the skills needed for a rapidly changing labour market. I congratulate Lithuania on being one of the first movers to adopt their Partnership Agreement!”
Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevicius said: “The cohesion policy funds were key for Lithuania’s social and economic development and improvement of living conditions for its population over last decades. But the EU and a whole global community is facing new challenges from energy prices and Russian aggression against Ukraine to climate crisis. This agreement will enable Lithuania to advance social, economic, energy, healthcare, education and green transformation which will bring number of benefits to society starting from lower energy bills, new and better opportunities in labour market, healthier environment to reduction of poverty and income inequality in general.”
The Partnership Agreement covers the cohesion policy funds: the European Regional and Development Fund – ERDF; the European Social Fund Plus – ESF+; the Cohesion Fund – CF; the Just Transition Fund – JTF; and the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund – EMFAF.
The Partnership Agreement with Lithuania paves the way for the implementation on the ground and covers 11 programmes: 3 national and 8 INTERREG programmes (concerning cross-border cooperation). Moreover, it establishes the eligibility and implementation of the Just Transition Fund in the regions with carbon-intensive industrial facilities most negatively impacted by the climate transition.
Finally, the Partnership Agreement reflects Lithuania’s strong commitment to the coordinated use of the cohesion policy funds with the Recovery and Resilience Facility.
Under cohesion policy, and in cooperation with the Commission, each Member State prepares a Partnership Agreement, a strategic document for programming investments from the cohesion policy funds and the EMFAF during the Multiannual Financial Framework. It focuses on EU priorities, laying down the strategy and investment priorities identified by the Member State, and it presents a list of national and regional programmes for implementation on the ground, including the indicative annual financial allocation for each programme. The Partnership Agreement with Lithuania is the third agreement for the 2021-2027 funding period, following those of Greece and Germany.