Lithuania to redraw regional divisions to maximize EU support

Minister of the Interior Saulius Skvernelis, who presented the proposal on Wednesday, said that by dividing Lithuania into two “statistical” regions – of the richer Vilnius region and the less economically advanced central-west region – Lithuania could get €2.7 billion more from the EU convergence funds between 2021 and 2028.

Lithuania faces to have its EU support cut after 2021, because its GDP per capita is expected to reach 75% of the EU average by 2017.

In order to qualify for more EU support, the Ministry of the Interior has suggested to divide Lithuania into two regions: the “rich” Capital Region would consist of the five districts in Vilnius County accounting for 27% of the total population, while the Central-West Region would consist of districts around Alytus, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Marijampolė, Panevėžys, Šiauliai, Tauragė, Telšiai, and Utena.

The two regions will be purely statistical units and will not affect local administration or electoral procedures, the Ministry of the Interior has said.

Lithuania is to receive almost €8.5 billion from the EU during the 2014-2020 period, €4.6 billion of which will go towards developing its less economically advanced regions.

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