Brussels, 10 September 2003
EU Cohesion Policy in Lithuania: negotiations of the Single Programming Document will start on 11 September in Vilnius
The European Commission today announced the launch of the first round of negotiations with Lithuania on future Structural Funds assistance. Negotiations will start tomorrow in Vilnius. They will aim at finding an agreement on the Single Programming Document (SPD), the document containing the strategy and priorities for action under Objective 1 of the Structural Funds for the years 2004 to 2006. In a letter of 24 July addressed to Dalia Grybauskaitë, Minister of Finance, Michel Barnier, Commissioner responsible for regional policy, set out the main lines of the Commission position on the draft Single Programming Document submitted by Lithuania.
In his letter, Michel Barnier wrote: “The draft Single Programming Document represents a good basis for the negotiations that lie ahead. It is very important that its implementation is a success. Not only because of the country's evident needs, which is the most important consideration, but also because its success would demonstrate the added value of European Union intervention. It is very important that we reach an early agreement in order to facilitate the implementation of the activities on the ground as soon as possible, given that expenditure under this programme may be eligible from 1 January 2004."
More than € 1 500 million for physical infrastructure, the promotion of business sector competitiveness and measures for generating growth and creating jobs.
On the basis of the decisions of the Copenhagen European Council last December, about euro 900 million will be allocated to Lithuania under the EU Structural Funds and some euro 610 million under the Cohesion Fund.
Objective 1 of the Structural Funds is devoted to promoting the development and structural adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind. The Single Programming Document for Lithuania will mainly concentrate on developing physical infrastructure for transport, education and social needs, promoting the competitiveness of the business sector, as well as strengthening human resources. In addition, the Cohesion Fund will co-finance major transport and environmental infrastructure projects.
Lithuania as a whole is eligible under Objective 1 of the Structural Funds for the period 2004-06. The entire territory of the country is also eligible for support from the Cohesion Fund.
The Structural Funds comprise four individual Funds: The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF), Guidance Section, and the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG). All of them should contribute to the financing of the Single Programming Document (SPD) in Lithuania. In addition, the Cohesion Fund will support projects in the fields of environment and transport infrastructure projects of common interest (trans-European networks).
The SPD describes the socio-economic context of the country, defines and justifies the strategy, priorities and objectives to be achieved and outlines the system for the management, monitoring, evaluation, financial management and control of the programmes.
During the negotiations, the Commission will seek to ensure a high level of coherence and co-ordination between the priorities, taking into account absorption capacity in the various areas concerned. Clarification will also be sought on the delivery structure for the programmes as a whole and on the individual measures.
For more information, please consult the following website: