The Seimas will commence its spring session with a discussion on the parliamentary work programme
Press release, 9 March 2023
On 10 March 2023 at 10 a.m., Members of the Seimas will convene for the 6th (spring) session with its first sitting devoted to consideration of a draft work programme. Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, will present the work of the spring session of the Seimas; Ingrida Šimonytė, Prime Minister, will inform MPs of the draft laws submitted by the Government; and political groups will outline their most important legislative proposals.
Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen notes that the work programme of the spring session includes a lot of significant tasks. ‘The most important of these are related to national security and defence, well-being of our citizens, human rights, and reduction of social exclusion. As usual, we will pay much attention to Lithuania’s green deal and continue with the national reforms that have already been started. Thus, a lot of hard and responsible work is ahead of us under very difficult circumstances. Therefore, I hope that Members of the Seimas will come together, put their personal ambitions aside and mobilise themselves for united efforts,’ said the Speaker of the Seimas when talking about the forthcoming work of the session.
Apart from the secondary legislation, the draft work programme contains over 460 draft legal acts, out of which 92 are proposed by the Government, 23 by President Gitanas Nausėda, and 254 by Members of the Seimas (political groups). Some of the legislative drafts have already been presented at previous sessions and are intended for further consideration.
The most important tasks include comprehensive tax reform, draft legislation aimed at helping socially vulnerable groups of society, matters related to social security and health care, national security and defence, further implementation of Lithuania’s green deal, and improvement of the public sector for meeting public needs.
During the spring session, the Seimas will hear the State of the Nation Address by the President of the Republic and consider the Government Performance Report for 2022.
Spring session: tax reform and focus on vulnerable groups
The Government has proposed including legislative drafts on comprehensive tax reform in the work programme. The package of tax proposals is aimed at contributing to the development of a fairer, more efficient and predictable tax system, promotion of smart investment, strengthening of municipal financial autonomy, and achievement of environmental targets. At the same time, there are plans to revise the regulation of open-ended benefits and other special taxation conditions.
The empowerment of socially vulnerable groups of society is also among the priorities for the spring session. There are proposals to amend the Law on Social Services by providing for respite care as a separate special social service and to amend the Law on Sickness and Maternity Social Insurance by increasing the minimum social insurance allowances for maternity, paternity and child care leaves and revising the provisions on the payment of sickness allowances to people undergoing addiction treatment and nursing the sick. The amendments to the Law on Employment are aimed at imposing more effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions against illegal and undeclared work and against illegal employment of foreigners. Discussions on the improvement of the retirement savings scheme are also on the work programme.
The President of the Republic will submit legal drafts concerning vulnerable groups
At this spring session, the President of the Republic proposes considering and adopting laws aimed at accelerating the increase in the tax-exempt amount of income (TEAI) for employees and persons raising children with a view to faster approximating the TEAI applicable to this group to the minimum monthly salary. The President’s proposals are also focused on seeking better and fairer access to health care services for people with rare health conditions (diseases) and augmenting passenger transport opportunities for the most vulnerable groups that are at the highest risk of poverty.
The President also proposes changes with a view to reviewing the established liability for crimes against the independence, territorial integrity and constitutional order of the State to ensure proportional and fair punishment for the most dangerous criminal offences. He also proposes eliminating obvious gaps in legal regulation to achieve effective investigation of criminal offences against the environment, increasing the basic salary coefficients of judges and prosecutors, and finding solutions to excessive workload of courts of general jurisdiction.
The Law on Corporate Income Tax is recommended for amendment to prevent the deterioration of conditions, due to regulatory changes, for the implementation of investment projects in Lithuania after 2023, if global economic uncertainty persists.
National security will remain among the priorities
The Seimas will look into legal drafts aimed at strengthening border protection and control, preventing abuse of the asylum and border management system, effectively managing migration flows, and reducing administrative and financial burden on the State Border Guard Service.
Amendments to the Law on International Sanctions are expected to enable introducing specific restrictive measures in Lithuanian legal acts in response to aggression in Ukraine, as well as providing for measures against legal persons for sanction violations.
The draft legislation included in the work programme will be aimed at developing the principal structure of the Armed Forces, enhancing the performance of statutory establishments, and improving the regulation of personal data processing and transfer to third countries or international organisations for the purposes of national security or defence.
In accordance with the schedule of sittings approved by the Board of the Seimas, 55 sittings are planned to be held during the session from 10 March to 30 June 2023. Four sittings out of these will be devoted to the agendas of the political groups of the Opposition. As provided for in the Statute of the Seimas, sittings of the Seimas will usually take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Rimas Rudaitis, Adviser, Press Office, Information and Communication Department, tel. +370 5 239 6132, e-mail: [email protected]