“The accomplishments of this government include several strategic projects inherited from previous governments and successfully completed: the introduction of the euro, the liquefied natural gas terminal has been in operation for a year now, power interconnections with Poland and Sweden have been launched,” Grybauskaitė said in an interview with the weekly magazine Veidas.
“However, the strategy of idleness when it comes to major structural reforms is not productive. There are a number of areas where we need changes in response to demographic indicators and global developments. In its programme, the government has promised considerable accomplishments in welfare and health care, in education, but one can hardly hope for serious action over the remaining months of its term,” Grybauskaitė said.
The cabinet of PM Butkevičius, which started work in 2012 and is finishing its term after the general elections next year, is only the second government in 25 years to survive the entire term, Grybauskaitė noted.
Still, she said, the next government with inherit challenges that were not properly dealt with by the incumbent: rapid population ageing, shrinking labour force and migration.
Another challenge will be optimizing the country’s public service and public administration, Grybauskaitė added.
Lack of future-oriented thinking
President Grybauskaitė has also criticized the 2016 government budget which she signed into law last week. According to her, it shows a lack of future-oriented thinking on the government’s part and put Lithuania in the European Commission‘s line of criticism.
“Not that long ago, the European Commission was praising Lithuania for its ability to spend responsibly, whereas this budget was met with serious criticism,” Grybauskaitė told Veidas.
She reiterated the EC’s comments that Lithuania risks failing to live up to its fiscal commitments. The current government, Grybauskaitė said, could not resist the temptation to indulge in some lavishness before general elections and based its spending plans on excessively optimistic tax collection and GDP growth projections.
“And all this happened in the first year of Lithuania’s eurozone membership, when we should be particularly serious about our commitments,” Grybauskaitė said.