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European Commission Has Approved the Operational Programmes for Economic Growth and Cohesion Promotion

Date

2007 08 09

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Vilnius, 8 August. The European Commission has already approved the Operational Programmes for Economic Growth and Cohesion Promotion through which almost 85 % of the European Union Structural Assistance funds for the years 2007-2013 will be used.

These are two out of three thematic programmes following which the Lithuanian Strategy for the Use of EU Structural Assistance for the Years 2007-2013 will be implemented. The Operational Programmes for Economic Growth and Cohesion Promotion are financed from the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund under the Convergence objective (to provide assistance to less developed MemberStates and regions).

Operational Programme for Economic Growth – LTL10.7 Billion (45.7 %*)

The Operational Programme for Economic Growth aims at promoting research and experimental development, increasing the comparative business share of high value added in Lithuania’s economy, creating a favourable environment for small and medium business and innovations, developing information society and making economic infrastructure to be more effective. The Programme includes the following priority areas:

• Research and development for economic competitiveness and economic growth (10 %, LTL 2.3 billion). International economic competitiveness and economic growth are directly related to public and business investments into high-quality research and development (R&D); however, at present capacity of R&D in public and private sectors, as well as the state of infrastructure are poor, and research as a service open to knowledge is little attractive to the greater part of local industry. Therefore, in solving these problems it will be strived for strengthening the public and private R&D base, increasing the activeness of R&D activities in private sector and availability of public sector R&D to enterprises, and above all, promoting cooperation between business and science in R&D area.

• Increasing of business productivity and improving of business environment (6.8%, LTL 1.6 billion). The actions promoting labour productivity in business were envisaged: assistance to investments into new production equipment and technology, assistance to installation of IT management systems and solutions in companies, assistance to acquisition of services related to installation of advanced management methods and energy audit, which is of much importance to traditional economic activities.

• Information society to everyone (3.5 %, LTL 0.8 billion).In order to reducedigital isolation determined by geographical and economic factors electronic solutions will be developed, electronic business initiatives will be promoted and equivalent and safe electronic network infrastructure will be created.

• Main economic infrastructure (8.6 %, LTL 2.0 billion).Assistance will be designated for several major areas: integration of Lithuanian electricity and gas markets into common EU domestic markets  and modernisation and development of national and regional transport infrastructure;

• Trans-European Transport Network development (16 %, LTL 3.7 billion). It is envisaged to modernise and develop the infrastructure of roads, railways, ports and airports in a coordinated manner by ensuring interaction with transport systems of other countries.

The Operational Programme for Economic Growth envisages implementation of some very important high-value projects (value amounts to more than EUR 50 million): development of the highway Via Baltica, reconstruction of the railway Vilnius – Kaunas for the speed up to 160 km/h and modernisation of alarm devices, design and construction of the railway Rail Baltica, as well as development of the Broadband Internet Network RAIN in rural areas.

Operational Programme for Cohesion Promotion – LTL 9.2 billion (39.1 %)

The Operational Programme for Cohesion Promotion is to implement the vision of building a more cohesive society in the pursuit of improving living environment and the quality of living as well as to reduce disparities between separate regions.

The Programme contains the following priority areas:

• Local and urban development, preservation of cultural heritage and nature and readjustment for tourism development (11.2 %, LTL 2.6 billion). The aim is to promote effective use of local potential for the development of the economy. The local potential is the potential of cultural heritage and natural resources, rural farming population which is an important free labour force reserve and etc. The assistance is designated for reduction of main and residuary discrepancies of urban living environment and the quality of living, giving a special focus on improvement of housing conditions; diversification of economic activities in rural areas; incoming and local tourism development; preservation of natural resources and adaptation to the needs of population and economic requirements.

• Quality and accessibility of public services: health, education and social infrastructure (10.6 %, LTL 2.5 billion). A better quality of life and greater cohesion is impossible without better and widely accessible public services. Therefore, the aim is that all the population of the country would receive health, education and social services of the highest European standards. Assistance to health care is designated for extension of healthy life span, reduction of morbidity and mortality, improvement of health care institutions infrastructure and services. In education field, it aims at creation of conditions for more intensive participation in the life-long learning system ensuring higher quality and accessibility of education services. In rendering social services, the efforts will be made in reaching the standard of living of developed EU countries, promoting integration of persons experiencing social exclusion into the society and labour market.

• Environment and harmonious development (16.7%, LTL 3.9 billion). Consistency of a rapid economic growth with preservation of healthy environment is a task which is difficult to fulfil, as the society is usually liable to solve economic problems for account of environment quality. Therefore, it is vitally important to timely implement the environment protection measures and reduce a negative impact of energy, natural resources utilisation and economic activities on the environment. Resolution of the environment problems accrued costs more than their prevention. The investments are intended into renovation and development of water supply and waste water treatment systems, air quality improvement, more effective use of energy and enhancement of consumption of renewable energy sources.

The Operational Programme for Cohesion Promotion also envisages the implementation of several high value projects, i.e. to modernise the power station in Mažeikiai and the power station No. 2 in Vilnius, to construct incineration stations Vilnius and Kaunas.

***

Lithuania one of the first countries in the EU developed and coordinated with the European Commission the Strategy for the Use of EU Structural Assistance for the Years 2007-2013, which was approved in April 2007. The Strategy will be implemented through four operational programmes.  After approval of operational programmes for economic growth and cohesion promotion, the negotiations on the third thematic operational programme for development of human resources are on-going, this will be delivered 13.8 % (LTL 3.2 billion) of funds.

For administration of all thematic operational programmes, under which the EU assistance will be used, a general EU assistance management and control system will be developed with the aim to have more simplified and transparent system, clear to applicants and control bodies. For this purpose the fourth additional operational programme for technical assistance (1.4 %, LTL 0.3 billion) is designed.

After intensive discussions, new EU assistance administration rules are being finalised. In the short run, drafts of corresponding resolutions will be submitted to the Government for consideration. It is also planned in the near future to prepare annexes to operational programmes.

Common selection criteria – requirements binding to all projects to be financed from EU structural assistance for the years 2007-2013 and a part of special project selection criteria established for each measure have been approved. At present the ministries are in the process of preparation of the proposals for the remaining special project selection criteria.

* Percentage calculated from total amount of EU assistance

 

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