The session focused on Lithuania’s accession to the euro zone, strengthening of national defence and security, finance, reducing of social exclusion, the economy, public administration, energy, law and order, protection of the environment, health, education, science and culture and other matters.
The autumn session passed, ahead of the introduction of the euro, more than 125 laws regulating the conversion of the amounts in the litas to the euro. The legislation will ensure a smooth changeover to the euro from 2015 and further effective application of legislative provisions.
The key document adopted by the autumn session was the Law on the Approval of the Financial Indicators of the State Budget and Municipal Budgets for 2015. It was followed by the approval of budgets of the State Social Insurance Fund and Compulsory Health Insurance Fund.
Then, amendments to the Law on Value Added Tax extended the application of the reduced 9 percent VAT rate for heat and hot water until 1 July 2015. Starting with 1 March 2015, higher excise duty rates will apply to beer, wine and other fermented beverages, intermediate products, ethyl alcohol, cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos.
On social issues, the Seimas has adopted amendments to the Law on Sickness and Maternity Social Insurance and determined that the level of sickness allowance paid by the State Social Insurance Fund is equal to 80 percent of the amount of the beneficiary’s reimbursable remuneration throughout all the period of sick leave.
Besides, it revised the Law on Social Insurance of Occupational Accidents and Occupational Diseases concerning benefits in the event of death of an insured person. Then, the Seimas has decided to establish a uniform model for cash social assistance (social allowances and reimbursements) in all municipalities from 2015. Furthermore, the Law on State Support for the Acquisition or Rental of Housing provides for new housing support in the form of payment of a portion of the rental or leasing. The Seimas also enabled acquisition of the municipal housing for the market price. Finally, amendments were made to the Labour Code and the accompanying legislation aimed at reinforcing the responsibility of employees and employers for illegal employment thus reducing the scale of undeclared work.
In response to external threats, the Seimas decided to reinforce the Lithuanian armed forces upon the introduction of martial law. The amendments foresee the right for the Chief of Defence to order the VIP Protection Department and the Public Security Service to form part of the armed forces under martial law. Moreover, the Seimas passed the Law on Cyber Security providing for the organisation, management and control of the cyber security system, approved the Statute on Use of Combat Weaponry in the National Defence System and granted Lithuanian troops the mandate to take part in international operations in 2015-2016 approved by the North Atlantic Council and the Council of the European Union.
On the last day of the autumn session, members of the Seimas appointed Daiva Raudonienė as secretary general of the Seimas.