2018 state budget. Topping the fall session’s agenda is next year’s budget bill, which will determine how public funds are spent in 2018. The country’s leaders underline that next year’s budget will be oriented toward both social and military security, with spending on social needs expected to grow by around 600 million euros and defense funding set to meet NATO’s target of 2 percent of GDP for the first time.
Public service overhaul. The Interior Ministry, the initiator of an overhaul of the public service, says that it would help to more than halve the number of public servants and to significantly improve the sector’s performance. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė has said, however, that the proposed reform would ruin the sector.
Fight against corruption. President Grybauskaitė is tabling amendments to tie fines for corruption crimes to the amount of damage done, of benefit received by perpetrators or of bribe paid, and to increase fines for income of unclear origin and unpaid taxes. A group of members of the Seimas have drafted a bill aimed at protecting whistleblowers who report suspected acts of corruption or wasting of funds in an organization.
Guarantees for lawmakers’ activities. A Seimas working group has drafted a bill defining parliamentarians’ working conditions and guarantees for their activities, as well as sanctions for poor attendance. The most contentious issue is that of lawmakers’ vacations. Some members of the Seimas argue that lawmakers work uninterruptedly, but Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the parliament, calls for the duration of MPs’ paid annual leave to be set by law, as ordered by the Constitutional Court.
E-voting. The government proposes to adopt a law on the development and implementation of an online voting system. Various initiatives to allow online voting have been discussed in the country for more than a decade now, but all of them have been unsuccessful so far. Supporters of e-voting say that it would increase voter turnout, but critics are concerned about possible cyber attacks, personal data protection issues and manipulation of election results.
The draft program for the fall session includes almost 530 draft legal acts and accompanying documents. The government has proposed to include over 150 bills into the program. Another seven have been put forward by President Grybauskaitė, and almost 250 by the parliament’s political groups.