The European Commission has assessed the national recovery and resilience plan (RRP) based on main criteria set out in the EU regulation. A supporting staff-working document provides detailed documentation on the EU’s assessment of the Lithuania’s RRP in supporting the green and digital transition, in providing a balanced response to the socio-economic situation and implementing the EU’s country-specific recommendations. However, some of the national RRP exceed the EU’s required investment amounts.
The basic EU’s criteria (originally composed of 11 items against the back of the six pillars of the Regulation.) require that the country’s governance approach the national efforts through the assessment of the following main directions: – national measures should have “a lasting impact”; – the measures shall address the challenges identified in the country specific recommendations prepared through the European Semester; – the national RRP shall include the targets which allow for monitoring the RRP’s progress and the investments through a clear and realistic means; – the RRP shall meet the 37 percent climate expenditure target and the 20 percent for digital expenditures; – the RRP shall respect the “do no significant harm principle”; and – the RRP shall provide an adequate control and audit mechanism, as well as set out the plausibility of the costing information.
The Commission’s assessment is not however final: it is summarized in the proposal for a final “implementing decision”, which is supposed to be made by the Council; the Council has four weeks, as a rule, to adopt the Commission’s proposal.
On the Recovery and Resilience Facility, see: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/qanda_21_3014/ 16 June 2021.
Lithuania’s RRP in supporting the green transition
The Lithuanian RRP’s contribution to the green transition amounts to 38 percent of its total allocation of €2.2 billion; this slightly exceeds, however, the minimum of 37 percent required by the EU’s RRF Regulation.
The national RRP focuses on sustainable mobility through investing in e-mobility infrastructure and public transport: this part of the plan provides for the installation of nearly 60,000 new private and public electric car charging points and the acquisition of 730 electric or alternative fuel powered buses.
Besides, the plan foresees investment in the production of an additional 300 MW of solar and wind energy, as well as the capacity to store 200 MW of electricity, which will provide additional security of supply and flexibility to accommodate renewable energy sources in the grid. The plan also envisages investments to improve the energy efficiency of multi-apartment buildings with a target to renovate at least 860 buildings.
The plan also includes measures to preserve biodiversity through investments in the restoration of degraded peat lands.
Reference to: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/QANDA_21_3369/ 2.07.2021.
Lithuania’s RRP in dealing with the digital transition
The Lithuanian RRP intends to contribute to the digital transition of about 32 percent of its total allocation of €2.2 billion; this also exceeds the minimum of 20 percent required by the RRF Regulation.
The digital measures included in the plan cover various aspects of the digital transformation encompassing public and private sector, skills and connectivity – with a focus on improving the competitiveness of the Lithuanian economy in the medium and the long term.
The plan foresees investment in the widespread deployment of high-speed networks, including 5G, and developing 2,000 km of high-speed infrastructure in rural and remote areas to connect 5000 digitally intensive businesses and institutions.
The plan also includes significant investments in e-governance, the transformation of the public information technology governance and developing AI solutions for Lithuanian language.
Lithuania’s RRP in providing a balanced response to the socio-economic situation
The Lithuanian plan represents a comprehensive and adequately balanced response to the economic and social situation of Lithuania, thereby contributing appropriately to all six pillars referred to in the RRF Regulation.
The plan focuses on Lithuania’s main challenges that are the green and digital transitions, the healthcare and education systems, the research and innovation policy, social protection, and the efficiency of the public sector.
A high share of investments into the green and digital transitions accompanied by reforms is expected to help make Lithuania’s growth model more resource efficient while other measures are set to contribute to the long-term productivity growth and the economic and social resilience.
Lithuanian reforms addressing EU’s country-specific recommendations
The RRP includes an extensive set of mutually reinforcing reforms and investments that contribute to effectively addressing most vital national socio-economic challenges outlined in the country-specific recommendations addressed to Lithuania by the Council in the European Semester in 2019 and in 2020. For example, the RRP includes reforms in the areas of healthcare, education, innovation policy and social protection.
It includes measures for the modernisation of healthcare facilities, the development of centers of expertise in infectious diseases and the digitalisation of the healthcare sector. These measures are expected to strengthen resilience, improve quality, accessibility and efficiency of the healthcare system.
The consolidation of the school network, modernising general education, improving vocational education and training, as well as adult learning, the improvement of the higher education’s funding and the students’ admission system, as well as the promotion of research and internationalisation of universities is expected to improve the efficiency and quality of education. The merging of existing innovation promotion agencies is set to make research and innovation policies more efficient.
The reform of the guaranteed minimum income protection, together with the increase of the unemployment insurance scheme coverage, comprehensive revision of benefits and the improvement of the pension indexation mechanism, is set to increase the adequacy of the social safety net, address social inequality and reinforce social resilience.
More information in the links: Press release: European Commission endorses Lithuania’s €2.2 billion recovery and resilience plan; Recovery and Resilience Facility: Questions and Answers; Factsheet on Lithuania’s recovery and resilience plan; Proposal for a Council Implementing Decision on the approval of the assessment of the recovery and resilience plan for Lithuania; and Recovery and Resilience Facility Regulation
General reference: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/QANDA_21_3369