Lithuania

   

Social Policies

#23
Key Findings
With gaps in its social safety net, Lithuania receives a middling overall score (rank 23) with regard to social policies. Its score on this measure is unchanged relative to its 2014 level.

Education quality is a concern, with students showing middling achievements, and a mismatch evident between graduates’ skills and labor-market needs. Demographic changes are producing strong declines in the annual number of school graduates. Poverty-risk and social-exclusion rates are high. New social-policy funding programs are targeting at-risk pensioners, children and low-income families.

Health outcomes are poor in cross-EU comparison. Out-of-pocket payments remain high, reducing access for some groups. The share of women employed is high, but child-poverty rates remain concerning, and child-care provision is insufficient. A variety of benefits for families and pregnant women have been increased.

The pension system does not adequately protect against poverty. Pension benefits have been increased. Immigration is comparatively rare, with most migrants coming from either Ukraine or Belarus. Defense spending has been increased to reach 2% of GDP.

Education

#15

To what extent does education policy deliver high-quality, equitable and efficient education and training?

10
 9

Education policy fully achieves the criteria.
 8
 7
 6


Education policy largely achieves the criteria.
 5
 4
 3


Education policy partially achieves the criteria.
 2
 1

Education policy does not achieve the criteria at all.
Education Policy
7
The educational system in Lithuania is comprised of the following stages: 1) early childhood education and care (preprimary and preprimary class-based education); 2) compulsory education for children aged seven through 16 (including primary education, lower-secondary general education, vocational lower-secondary education); 3) upper-secondary and post-secondary education (for people aged 17 to 19); and 4) higher education provided by universities (undergraduate, graduate and PhD studies) and colleges (undergraduate studies). Lithuania’s high level of tertiary attainment has been gradually increasing further in recent years (58.7% in 2016). Its rate of early school leaving is also below the EU average, at 5.4% in 2016. However, enrollment rates in vocational education and training programs are low.

The reputation of vocational education and training in Lithuania could still be improved. According to an OECD survey of education released in September 2016, only 15% of all students are expected to graduate from vocational training programs compared to an OECD average of 46% and EU average of 50%. Preprimary education attendance is also low, with only 78.3% of Lithuanian children aged four to six attending preprimary education programs, compared to the EU-27 average of 92.3%. Adult participation rates in lifelong learning programs are also comparatively low. Moreover, Lithuania needs to increase the quality of its education programs. In the 2009 and 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) reports, which evaluate student performance in the areas of reading, mathematics and science, Lithuania was ranked below the OECD average. According to the most recent PISA report, released in early December 2019, Lithuania’s students continued to score lower than the OECD average in the areas of reading, mathematics and science. In addition, the share of students in Lithuania performing at the highest level of proficiency in at least in one subject was lower than the OECD average.

A 2017 OECD report on education in Lithuania stated that Lithuania’s schools and higher-education institutions would benefit from clarifying and raising performance expectations, aligning resources in support of raised performance expectations, strengthening performance-monitoring and quality-assurance procedures, and building institutional capacity. Furthermore, the country must address mismatches between graduates’ skills and labor market needs, as the country’s youth-unemployment rate of about 13.3% in 2017 was partly associated with young people’s insufficient skills and lack of practical experience. In a staff working document, the European Commission recommended improving quality and efficiency at all levels of education and training, including adult education.

In terms of equitable access to education, the country shows an urban-rural divide and some disparities in educational achievements between girls and boys. However, there are no significant gaps in access to education for vulnerable groups (with the exception of the Roma population and, to a certain extent, the migrant population). Overall, government spending on education fell somewhat during the financial crisis, with higher education given a higher priority at the outset of the crisis thanks to an ongoing higher education reform. Spending on education in Lithuania has been above the EU average (5.2% of GDP in 2016 compared to an EU average of 4.7%; down from 5.8% of GDP in 2012). However, this expenditure is spread across a large number of institutions, and is often used to maintain buildings instead of to improve education quality. The average salary of a researcher in Lithuania is four times lower the EU average (adjusted for purchasing power). While the country has a relatively high figure with regard to mean years of schooling (Lithuania was ranked 10th out of 141 countries in the Global Competitiveness Index 2019 in this area), it is relatively difficult to find skilled employees (in the same report, Lithuania was ranked only 124th out of 141 countries in this area). Therefore, Lithuanian authorities should improve the labor market relevance of education and training in order to increase the efficiency of resource allocation.

The total number of school graduates declined significantly in recent years due to demographic changes, from around 29,500 in 2010 to 17,800 in 2018 and estimated to decline further to 14,700 in 2022 – a reduction by half compared to 2010. At the same time, the numbers of foreign students studying in Lithuania remain comparatively low at only 3% compared to an OECD average of 6%. Decreasing student numbers have intensified pressure on the network of higher-education institutions, especially among less popular institutions. For example, in 2016, there were an estimated 2.9 higher-education institutions per 10,000 students in Lithuania, while there were 1.2 per 10,000 students in Finland and 1.1 in Ireland. In addition, more than 50 (out of 614) study programs in Lithuanian universities and colleges failed to attract enough student applications, and thus may be abolished in the future. Although this has led to proposals to consolidate the network of Lithuanian state universities, and vocational education and training institutions, progress in implementing this reform has been slow. The Skvernelis government has recently shifted its initial focus on introducing free undergraduate studies and performance-based funding to concentrate instead on higher-education institutions. The strongest driver for the optimization the higher-education system is likely to come from declining graduate numbers, higher university-entry thresholds and a new performance-linked funding model (if this winds up being adopted by parliament). However, public protests by teachers and lecturers have also increased pressure to allocate more funding for employee wages, which would not increase the efficiency of the system. With parliamentary elections scheduled for October 2020, it seems unlikely that any major reforms will be adopted by the current government.

Citations:
The Eurydice reports on Lithuania are available at https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/fpfis/mwikis/eurydice/index.php/Lithuania:Overview
COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT, country report Lithuania 2019: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/file_import/2019-european-semester-country-report-lithuania_en.pdf
The 2019 Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2019.pdf
OECD, Education at a Glance 2016, OECD indicators: http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/education/education-at-a-glance-2016_eag-2016-en#.WFafA0a7qM9
OECD, Education in Lithuania, 2017. http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/education-in-lithuania_9789264281486-en;jsessionid=8scv3cpilndh.x-oecd-live-03
OECD, Results from PISA 2018, http://www.oecd.org/pisa/publications/PISA2018_CN_LTU.pdf

Social Inclusion

#25

To what extent does social policy prevent exclusion and decoupling from society?

10
 9

Policies very effectively enable societal inclusion and ensure equal opportunities.
 8
 7
 6


For the most part, policies enable societal inclusion effectively and ensure equal opportunities.
 5
 4
 3


For the most part, policies fail to prevent societal exclusion effectively and ensure equal opportunities.
 2
 1

Policies exacerbate unequal opportunities and exclusion from society.
Social Inclusion Policy
6
The issue of social exclusion is a key challenge for Lithuania’s social policy. In 2016, 30.1% of the Lithuanian population was at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Families with many children, people living in rural areas, youth and disabled people, unemployed people and elderly people are the demographic groups with the highest poverty risk.

The Lithuanian authorities have set a goal of reducing the size of the population at risk of poverty or social exclusion to 814,000 individuals by 2020 (from 1.1 million in 2010). Although the number of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion has declined somewhat, Lithuania still remains below its national target; in 2017, around 843,000 people were at risk of poverty or social exclusion (29.6% of the total population). Lithuania remains one of the most unequal countries in the EU, which is partially due to the limited ability of the existing social transfers to reduce poverty. Therefore, in its 2019 staff working document, the European Commission recommended addressing income inequality, poverty and social exclusion.

As anti-poverty measures, the government has increased the minimum monthly wage and the boosted the nontaxable income-tax threshold. In 2018, the Skvernelis government announced a series of social-policy measures that entailed additional funding of €483 million targeting pensioners, children and low-income families. Gitanas Nausėda, the newly elected president, recently announced a package of proposals for the parliament’s autumn 2019 session that included around €100 million in additional social security spending (mostly earmarked for pension and disability-benefit increases). Most of these were adopted by parliament along with the 2020 budget.

A mix of government interventions (general improvements to the business environment, active labor market measures, adequate education and training, cash social assistance, and social services targeted at the most vulnerable groups) is needed in order to ameliorate Lithuania’s remaining problems of poverty and social exclusion. The Lithuanian authorities have adopted a social-cohesion action plan for the 2014 to 2020 period. Emigration trends, with young working-age people leaving for jobs abroad and older family members staying in Lithuania to care for grandchildren, exacerbate the negative effects of social exclusion. However, as the country’s economy has grown at rates above the EU average, a reversal of migration trends has recently been observed.

Citations:
COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT, country report Lithuania 2019: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/file_import/2019-european-semester-country-report-lithuania_en.pdf

Health

#24

To what extent do health care policies provide high-quality, inclusive and cost-efficient health care?

10
 9

Health care policy achieves the criteria fully.
 8
 7
 6


Health care policy achieves the criteria largely.
 5
 4
 3


Health care policy achieves the criteria partly.
 2
 1

Health care policy does not achieve the criteria at all.
Health Policy
7
In Lithuania, some health outcomes are among the poorest in the EU. For example, the mortality rate of 20 to 64 year olds is the highest in the EU. Lithuania has one of the highest alcohol consumption rates in the world. In 2015, consumption of absolute alcohol equaled 14 liters per person aged 15 and over. According to the 2010 Eurobarometer report, only 40% of Lithuanians assessed the overall quality of the country’s healthcare as good in 2009, compared to an EU-27 average of 70%. The Lithuanian healthcare system received the seventh-lowest rating in the EU, with 58% of respondents saying that the overall quality of healthcare was fairly or very bad.

The Lithuanian healthcare system includes public sector institutions financed primarily by the National Health Insurance Fund, and private sector providers financed the National Health Insurance Fund and out-of-pocket patient costs. Government expenditure on healthcare was quite stable from 2012 to 2016, amounting to 5.8% of GDP in 2016. As a percentage of current healthcare expenditure, spending on preventive care and other related programs is quite low, while the share of spending on pharmaceuticals and other medical non-durables is quite high.

The provision of healthcare services varies to a certain extent among the Lithuanian counties; the inhabitants of a few comparatively poor counties characterized by lower life expectancies (e.g., Tauragė county) on average received fewer healthcare services. Out-of-pocket payments remain high (in particular for pharmaceuticals), a fact that may reduce access to healthcare for vulnerable groups. New prevention-focused programs were introduced by the National Health Insurance Fund. Furthermore, the scope of the new State Public Health Promotion Fund under the Ministry of Health was expanded to support additional public health interventions.

The 2008 – 2012 government sought to improve service quality and cost efficiency by optimizing the network of personal healthcare organizations. The overall number of healthcare organizations was consequently reduced from 81 to 62 by the end of 2012. By contrast, the 2012 – 2016 and 2016 – 2020 governments placed more emphasis on the accessibility of healthcare services and the issue of public health. More specifically, the Skvernelis government reduced the availability of alcohol and tightened regulations on pharmaceuticals in the market. For instance, in 2017, the parliament increased excise duties on alcohol and passed amendments to the Alcohol Control Law (raising the legal age for alcohol consumption from 18 to 20), restricted the allowable hours of alcohol sales, and banned alcohol advertising. The National Health Insurance Fund has carried out an in-depth analysis of the hospital sector and developed a blueprint for consolidating the hospital network, the results of this work have not been published due to strong opposition to such reform in parliament. More recently, the Ministry of Healthcare has announced proposals for improving the provision of emergency services through collaborations between different service providers (involving local emergency services and large hospitals located in the major cities).

Despite this initiative, the potential for rationalizing the use of resources in the healthcare sector remains largely unfulfilled. There is a need to make the existing healthcare system more efficient by shifting resources from costly inpatient treatments to primary care, outpatient treatment and nursing care. According to the European Commission’s 2019 report, the performance of the healthcare system could be improved by increasing the quality, affordability and efficiency of services, which would in turn improve health outcomes in the country.

Citations:
The 2010 Eurobarometer report is available at http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_327_en.pdf
COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT, country report Lithuania 2019: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/file_import/2019-european-semester-country-report-lithuania_en.pdf
Murauskiene L, Janoniene R, Veniute M, van Ginneken E, Karanikolos M. Lithuania: health system review. Health Systems in Transition, 2013; 15(2): 1–150. http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/192130/HiT-Lithuania.pdf.

Families

#21

To what extent do family support policies enable women to combine parenting with participation in the labor market?

10
 9

Family support policies effectively enable women to combine parenting with employment.
 8
 7
 6


Family support policies provide some support for women who want to combine parenting and employment.
 5
 4
 3


Family support policies provide only few opportunities for women who want to combine parenting and employment.
 2
 1

Family support policies force most women to opt for either parenting or employment.
Family Policy
7
Many Lithuanian families find it difficult to reconcile family and work commitments. According to the Flash Eurobarometer 470 released in October 2018, 47% of Lithuanian respondents indicated that there are no flexible work arrangements available in their organizations, compared to an EU-28 average of 31%. Interestingly, the rate of those indicating that flexible work arrangements were widespread was the same for both men and women. Nearly half of respondents (47%) disagreed that it was easier for women than for men to make use of such flexible work arrangements. However, more Lithuanians were taking parental leave (34%) than the EU-28 average (26%); 73% of Lithuanian women indicated taking parental leave compared to 30% of men. Among the factors that would encourage them to take parental leave, 51% of Lithuanian respondents preferred receiving additional financial compensation during parental leave (as compared to an EU-28 average of 41%).

The frequent instances of domestic violence, divorce and single-parent families also present challenges. The country’s fertility rate is low, while the child poverty rate is relatively high. Notwithstanding, the employment rate among women aged 20 to 64 is relatively high: 74.3% compared to 76.2% for men in 2016.

Lithuanian family policy is based on a set of passive (financial support to families) and active (social services and infrastructure) policy measures. The government provides some support for women seeking to combine parenting and employment, including family and social-welfare legislation (e.g., special conditions of the Labor Code applicable to families), financial assistance to families raising children (child benefits and partial housing subsidies), and social services targeted at both children and parents (including the provision of preschool education and psychiatric help for parents or children). Although access to kindergartens and other childcare facilities is still insufficient and there is a shortage of both full-time and part-time flexible employment opportunities in the labor market, a number of new initiatives emerged after 2015 municipal elections. The Vilnius municipal government has been among the most active groups in facilitating the establishment of private childcare facilities.

Overall, family policy is quite fragmented and focused on families facing particular social risks (especially through the provision of financial support to families with children). More attention should be paid to developing universal family services (with NGO engagement). The program of the new coalition government gives substantial attention to family policy and includes proposals to enable parents to combine parenting and work as well as increases financial benefits for families with children. Election cycles affect the policy significantly, with the coalition partners competing to propose the most generous benefits in advance of the 2020 elections. Ultimately, the government proposed and passed an increase in monthly child benefits from €50 to €60, to be paid after a child is born through the age of 18. Additional monthly benefits for families with disabilities and poor families will increase from €20 to €40. Payments to pregnant women who cannot get support from the state social-insurance fund due to insufficient length of employment will be increased from €76 to €250.

In April 2017, the government approved a proposal to increase financial incentives and services for young families and those having children. In November 2017, the controversial Law on the Strengthening of the Family was signed. Although supporters argued that the law is needed to coordinate family policies and provide basic family support services, opponents dismissed it as a selection of declarations and criticized its allegedly discriminatory nature in terms of gender. Also, a new strategy on demographic, migration and integration policy for 2018 to 2030 prioritizes the development of a family-friendly environment (through financial support to families and various public services) to increase the country’s birth rate to 1.9 by 2030 (from a projected rate of 1.68 in 2017).

Citations:
European Commission, Flash Eurobarometer 470 Report on Work-Life Balance, October 2018: http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/survey/getsurveydetail/instruments/flash/surveyky/2185

Pensions

#26

To what extent does pension policy realize goals of poverty prevention, intergenerational equity and fiscal sustainability?

10
 9

Pension policy achieves the objectives fully.
 8
 7
 6


Pension policy achieves the objectives largely.
 5
 4
 3


Pension policy achieves the objectives partly.
 2
 1

Pension policy does not achieve the objectives at all.
Pension Policy
7
Lithuania’s pension system does not adequately protect recipients against old-age poverty. The share of the population over 65 years of age who are poor or suffer from social exclusion is well above the EU average; 31.7% of all people over 65 were at risk of poverty in 2013. During the financial crisis, the Lithuanian authorities were forced to cut social expenditures (including pensions), thus increasing the risk of poverty for some retired people. However, pensions were restored to their pre-crisis levels as of 1 January 2012 and policymakers later decided to compensate pensioners for pension cuts made during the crisis within a period of three years, which ended in 2017. The Skvernelis government decided to allocate an additional €371.8 million for old-age pensions in 2018 and to reform the pension system by shifting responsibility for contributions to the state social security fund from employers to employees and by increasing contributions to private-savings pillars. Gitanas Nausėda, the newly elected president, recently announced a package of proposals for the parliament’s autumn 2019 session that included around €100 million of additional social security spending (mostly earmarked for increases in pensions and disability benefits). The parliament ultimately decided to increase old-age pensions in 2020 by around 8.11%, to create an average pension of €377 per month or €399 for those with a minimum required employment history. Other types of pensions are also set to increase.

In terms of intergenerational equity, Lithuania’s three-pillar pension system, which mixes public and private pension programs, should ensure equity among pensioners, the active labor force and the adolescent generation. The 2004 pension reform added two privately funded pillars (a statutory pillar that receives a portion of mandatory state social-insurance contributions, and a voluntary pillar that is funded through private contributions) to the pay-as-you-go (PAYG) state insurance fund. However, this system as a whole suffered from instability and uncertainty; for instance, during the financial crisis, the government cut the share of social-security contributions going to the second-pillar private pension funds from 5.5% to 1.5%. Beginning in 2013, this contribution was increased to 2.5%. Also in 2013, another change to the private-savings system was introduced that reduced the contribution level to 2%. Furthermore, it allowed individuals either to stop their private contributions or to gradually top up 2% from the social-security contributions to the state insurance fund.

In terms of fiscal stability, Lithuania’s pension system faces unfavorable demographic change ahead. The old-age dependency ratio is projected to more than double by 2060 as the working-age population shrinks by a projected 35.8%. The parliament approved a gradual increase in the age of pension eligibility to 65 years in 2011, and in 2012 changed the pension system’s second pillar to provide for a possible gradual increase in the share of social contributions received by private funds (however, only 33% of those who participated in the previous pension scheme decided to join a new scheme). The unsustainable PAYG pillar continues to pose a risk to the sustainability of public finances overall.

The European Commission has recommended adopting a comprehensive reform of the pension system. In 2016, the Lithuanian parliament approved a new “social model,” which includes three major changes to the state social-insurance pillar. First, the basic pension is state financed, with an individual share dependent on social security contributions and financed from the Social Security Fund. Second, clear pension indexation rules link pension increases to average increases in the wage fund. Third, the mandatory period a person must work before qualifying for a pension is gradually increased from 30 to 35 years by 2027. These changes took effect in 2018.

The new coalition government led by the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union proposed going beyond consolidating the state budget and social security fund to reforming both the PAYG and private-savings pillars. On the basis of these proposals, the parliament adopted changes to the legislation governing the second pillar of the pension system in 2018. The reform abandoned the system whereby the State Social Insurance Fund Board transferred 2% of the social-insurance contributions into the second-pillar pension funds. Instead, a new formula (4% + 2%) for pension accumulation was established. This means that pension-fund contributions comprise 4% of the participant’s personal income and 2% of the national average salary as a supplementary contribution paid out of the state budget. The Constitutional Court has been called to rule on the legality of the second-pillar pension reform.

Citations:
COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT, country report Lithuania 2019: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/file_import/2019-european-semester-country-report-lithuania_en.pdf

Integration

#3

How effectively do policies support the integration of migrants into society?

10
 9

Cultural, education and social policies effectively support the integration of migrants into society.
 8
 7
 6


Cultural, education and social policies seek to integrate migrants into society, but have failed to do so effectively.
 5
 4
 3


Cultural, education and social policies do not focus on integrating migrants into society.
 2
 1

Cultural, education and social policies segregate migrant communities from the majority society.
Integration Policy
7
Lithuania remains a rather homogeneous society. According to the Department of Migration, there were 66,881 foreign-born residents living in the country on 1 July 2019, the majority of which were citizens of Ukraine, Russia or Belarus. In total, foreign nationals represented around 2.4% of the country’s population. Immigration of foreign nationals to Lithuania remains rare but is increasing year by year. For instance, from mid-2018 to mid-2019, there was a net increase of 23% in the number of foreign-born residents living in Lithuania. As part of the EU program to distribute asylum-seekers among member states, Lithuania committed to taking in 1,105 people over the course of two years, but this quota was later reduced to 1,077 people and extended to 1 October 2019. By late September 2018, 486 refugees had been relocated to Lithuania from Italy, Greece and Turkey. However, the majority of refugees have left Lithuania for Sweden, Germany or other EU destinations. In November 2019, five people who received asylum and 137 who had applied for asylum were living in refugee reception centers. A total of 192 people who had been granted asylum and 154 who had been reallocated from other EU countries were participating in municipality integration programs.

Most foreigners come to Lithuania from either Ukraine or Belarus, both former republics of the Soviet Union. For this reason, their integration into Lithuanian society has not been very difficult, with most taking up jobs in sectors suffering a labor shortage, such as truck driving or construction. However, the fact that the majority of new asylum-seekers are likely to come from Syria, Iraq or Eritrea presents Lithuanian authorities with more complex integration challenges (unless they decide to leave Lithuania). Furthermore, a number of developments call for the implementation of new integration measures, including the country’s rising flows of legal and illegal immigration; the economic recovery, which helped contribute to the recent increase in the number of work permits granted to third-country nationals; and the language and cultural problems faced by foreign residents in Lithuania.

Migrants from other EU member states tend to integrate into Lithuanian society more successfully than do third-country nationals. Various cultural, educational and social programs, including the provision of information, advisory, training services and Lithuanian language courses are aimed at integrating migrants into Lithuanian society. However, labor market services are not sufficiently developed in this regard, and foreign residents’ access to relevant education and training programs remains limited in practice. Moreover, new integration facilities and services are necessary in order to support the expected new surge of refugees. The government has proposed shortening an initial integration period and establishing local divisions of the Foreigners Registration Center, among other measures.

Safe Living

#34

How effectively does internal security policy protect citizens against security risks?

10
 9

Internal security policy protects citizens against security risks very effectively.
 8
 7
 6


Internal security policy protects citizens against security risks more or less effectively.
 5
 4
 3


Internal security policy does not effectively protect citizens against security risks.
 2
 1

Internal security policy exacerbates the security risks.
Internal Security Policy
7
Lithuania’s internal security has improved in recent years, in part thanks to Lithuania’s accession to the European Union in 2004 and to the Schengen zone in 2007. These relationships improved police cooperation with the country’s EU peers and allowed the public security infrastructure, information systems and staff skills to be upgraded. Crime rates fell during the 2005 – 2007 period, but this trend was reversed beginning in 2008, coinciding with the onset of the economic crisis. A total of 84,715 crimes were registered in 2013, which constitutes a 5.6% decrease in the crime rate in 2005. However, the year’s crime rate per 100,000 people (2,866) was the highest in the 2005 – 2013 period due to the country’s decreasing total population. The share of Lithuanians who reported crime, violence and vandalism in their community declined from 5.0% in 2012 to 3.4% in 2016. The country continues to have a high number of intentional homicides by EU standards, but this rate went down from 6.03 homicides per hundred thousand inhabitants in 2012 to 4.92 in 2016.

In the 2011 Eurobarometer survey, 58% of respondents in Lithuania either disagreed or totally disagreed with the statement that their country was doing enough to fight organized crime, compared to an EU-27 average of 42%. However, in recent years public trust in the police has increased. In November 2016, a record high 71% of respondents in Lithuania expressed confidence in the police, according to a Baltic survey. A similar level of trust in police (66%) was recorded in December 2018, while 60% indicated that they trusted the country’s military forces, according to a Vilmorus survey. In its 2018 report, the World Economic Forum ranked Lithuania 24 out of 140 countries for the costs to business of organized crime.

State funding for internal-security purposes remains limited; though it gradually increased between 2004 and 2008, government expenditure for public-safety purposes dropped from 2.4% of GDP in 2008 to 2.1% in 2011. Observers say that motivation, competence and stability within the police force (and other internal-security organizations) are among the most pressing challenges to improving public safety. According to the 2011 Eurobarometer report, 42% of Lithuanians felt corruption to be an issue very important to citizens’ security, while just 5% felt the same about terrorism threats, and 2% for civil wars/wars. The annual report of the Lithuanian Security Department highlighted threats linked to the activities of external intelligence services from neighboring non-NATO countries. The country has reconsidered its internal-security policies due to increasing threats associated with Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. A new long-term Public Security Development Program for 2015 – 2025, which aims at increasing public safety in the country, was adopted by the parliament in May 2015. In addition, in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and increase in its Baltic Sea Region military exercises, Lithuania reintroduced compulsory military conscriptions in 2015. The 2019 budget projected an increase in defense spending to reach 2% of GDP. The 2019 budget also included measures to increase funding for internal-security institutions.

Citations:
The 2011 Eurobarometer reports is available at http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/ archives/ebs/ebs_371_fact_lt_en.pdf.

Global Inequalities

#20

To what extent does the government demonstrate an active and coherent commitment to promoting equal socioeconomic opportunities in low- and middle-income countries?

10
 9

The government actively and coherently engages in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in low- and middle-income countries. It frequently demonstrates initiative and responsibility, and acts as an agenda-setter.
 8
 7
 6


The government actively engages in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in low- and middle-income countries. However, some of its measures or policies lack coherence.
 5
 4
 3


The government shows limited engagement in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in low- and middle-income countries. Many of its measures or policies lack coherence.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute (and often undermines) efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in low- and middle-income countries.
Global Social Policy
7
Lithuania’s government participates in international efforts to promote socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries through its development-aid policy. Lithuania provides development aid to Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, as well as Afghanistan (where it is involved in the civilian-military mission) through its own development-aid and democracy-support program, as well as through the European Development Fund, to which it provides a financial contribution (representing 65% of the country’s total development aid). Moreover, in 2011 Lithuania joined the World Bank’s International Development Association, which provides loans and grants for anti-poverty programs. Although Lithuania committed to allocating 0.33% of its gross national product to development aid by 2015 as part of its contribution to the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, actual levels of government expenditure remain under the target, reaching 0.12% of GNI in 2018 – a decrease from 0.13% in 2017 and 0.14% in 2016. In absolute terms, development aid increased slightly from €51.6 million in 2016 to €52.55 million in 2017 and €55.5 million in 2018, of which about 18% was bilateral and around 82% multilateral assistance. It is hard to judge the real impact of Lithuania’s development aid given the absence of independent evaluations. Over the last several years, Lithuania’s aid has focused on Ukraine and other Eastern Partnership countries. It should be noted that according to the Eurobarometer survey released in September 2018, the share of respondents who report that helping people in developing countries is very important was among the lowest in the EU-28: 21% compared to the EU-28 average of 42%. Only 29% of Lithuanian respondents agreed that tackling poverty in developing countries should be one of the main national priorities (compared to an EU-28 average of 54%) and 54% agreed that it should be one of the main priorities of the EU (compared to a EU-28 average of 71%).

As a member of the EU, Lithuania is bound by the provisions of the EU’s common policy toward external trade. Although the EU generally maintains a position of openness with regard to trade and investments, it has retained some barriers to market access and other measures that distort international competition. In rare cases, Lithuania has adopted measures within the EU’s external trade regime that restrict trade (e.g., along with other countries, Lithuania prohibited import of a specific genetically modified maize, a measure related to consumer- and environmental-protection concerns, rather than being based on new or additional scientific information about the impact of GMOs). Despite being a small and open economy and officially advocating open global trade policies, Lithuania has often aligned itself in trade discussions with the EU’s most protectionist countries, especially on the application of such instruments as antidumping duties. It has also supported trade protection in the farming sector, backing EU import duties on key agricultural products that hurt developing countries specializing in agricultural exports.

Citations:
The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lithuanian development aid, 2013. http://www.orangeprojects.lt/site/newfiles/files/Lietuvos_vystomasis_bendradarbiavimas_2013.pdf;
https://orangeprojects.lt/en/statistics;
OECD, Lithuania’s Official Development Assistance (ODA), 2016: http://www.oecd.org/countries/lithuania/lithuania-official-development-assistance.htm.
European Commission, Special Eurobarometer 476 Report EU citizens and development cooperation, September 2018, http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/survey/getsurveydetail/instruments/special/surveyky/2202
Elsig, M., “European Union trade policy after enlargement: larger crowds, shifting priorities and informal decision-making,” Journal of European Public Policy, 17:6, September 2010, p. 781-798.
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