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Sixth session: the Seimas approves the civil service reform and commits to further supporting Ukraine and strengthening national security

Press release, 4 July 2023 


The Seimas closed its sixth (spring) session, which lasted from 10 March to 30 June 2023. A total of 54 sittings were held, resulting in the adoption of 371 legal acts, including 272 laws.


‘Despite a number of challenges, the Seimas worked effectively and in unity during the session.  Traditionally, we focussed considerably on ensuring public security. We found constructive solutions in response to the current developments and implemented major reforms, including the civil service reform. In my opinion, we largely succeeded in following through the agenda that had been agreed on at the beginning of the spring session,’ said Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, when summing up the performance of the sixth session of the Seimas.


National security remains in focus


In the face of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Lithuanian Parliament continued with its important activities in the field of national security and adopted a number of key decisions to strengthen national security and defence.


Due to the tense geopolitical situation, at the beginning of the session, the Seimas agreed to extend the state of emergency at the Lithuanian border, which had expired on 2 May. In response to the suspension of the state of emergency, the Law on State Border and Protection Thereof was amended. The amended Law provides for the pushback of irregular migrants who violate the procedure for crossing the state border in the event of a national emergency and a state of emergency. The pushback of irregular migrants is allowed only within the area of five kilometres from the border.


The amendments to the Law on Control of Strategic Goods will help to ensure a more effective control of strategic goods, in line with the principle of equality, and prevent the availability of highly dangerous items to legal persons who commit serious violations of law.


The amendments to the Law on the Fundamentals of Free Economic Zones lift the ban, as from 2024, on engaging in economic and commercial activities related to ensuring national security and defence, as well as the manufacture, storage or sale of arms, ammunition, and explosives in free economic zones.


To step up the development of the military infrastructure for allied needs, the Seimas agreed to speed up the procedure for taking private land for public needs and shortening the time limit of the procedure by as many as 3 years.


The Seimas approved the proposal on the withdrawal of the Lithuanian citizenship from the dual citizenship holders who pose a threat to the security of the Lithuanian state. In addition, in response to the new geopolitical challenges, the Seimas approved a long-term national Programme for the Strengthening and Development of Public Security for 2023–2030 in order to deliver on the public security tasks defined in the National Security Strategy and the National Progress Plan. The Programme sets out the priorities and directions for achieving the objectives aimed at strengthening and developing public security, measures to achieve progress, performance indicators and preliminary funds for the implementation of the Programme.


Support for Ukraine continues


The Seimas passed a special law imposing national sanctions against Russian and Belarusian citizens in relation to the war in Ukraine. Pursuant to the law, Russian and Belarusian citizens are restricted from obtaining Lithuanian visas and the status of an electronic resident for one year and are banned from importing the Ukrainian hryvnia. The law imposes additional restrictions for Russian citizens on entering Lithuania and on purchasing real estate. Russian citizen’s applications for residence permits in Lithuania will temporarily not be accepted.


The Seimas invited the EU and its Member States to jointly develop and expand an EU legal framework for recognising states as sponsoring terrorism and using terrorist means and to include Russia in this list. At the same time, the Seimas called for ensuring the implementation of the EU sanctions policy by preventing any circumvention of sanctions, as well as investigating such cases of violation and prosecuting those responsible for them. The Seimas strongly condemned the use of any mercenary groups, such as the Wagner Group, established with the support of Russia’s authorities, for the ongoing crimes of aggression in Ukraine. The Seimas also declared that Russia’s private military company Wagner was a terrorist organisation and that its members and mercenaries posed a threat to the national and public security.


In view of the upcoming NATO Summit in Vilnius, the Seimas adopted a resolution on Lithuania’s key objectives for the Summit, with a particular focus on Ukraine’s aspirations for NATO membership.


Civil service reform to bring a breakthrough in the public sector


After a lengthy debate and a search for compromise, at its spring session, the Seimas approved the civil service reform, which has been identified by politicians as one of the crucial achievements in the current legislative term. The reform provides for the strengthening of the managerial staff, the improvement of the remuneration system, a more flexible management of human resources, consistent development of competences of civil servants, and the management of the civil service through the Public Management Agency. Future developments are expected to help narrow the gap with the private sector, attract competent staff and managers, and allow institutions to operate more efficiently.


With a view to ensuring greater transparency in the system of remuneration for municipal councillors, the Seimas, as from 1 July, set the size of the remuneration for municipal councillors at one fifth of the mayor’s salary, and abolished clerical allowances previously paid for municipal councillors. Councillors are now paid for the whole range of activities in the form of a monthly salary rather than get an hourly pay. 


The Parliament approved the reorganisation of district courts to address the uneven workload of courts, specialisation of judges in courts, inefficient management of financial resources, and the use of court infrastructure buildings. The reorganisation is expected to help balance the workload of district courts and their chambers, ensure the distribution of cases among a larger number of judges, and allow for faster and more efficient hearing of cases.


In order to balance the national criminal policy, the Seimas established proportionate criminal liability for less serious criminal acts, introduced administrative liability for illegal consumption and carriage of alcohol products in vehicles and for defamation of a person providing public services, and increased fines for noise violations.


The institutions authorised to issue binding instructions to block or remove online access to content will have to follow a common procedure for enforcing judicial sanctioning and blocking. This is aimed at a more effective restriction of access to illegal information on the Internet.


The Seimas also decided to call a mandatory referendum on 12 May 2024 on the acquisition of citizenship.


Higher social benefits and a solidarity contribution for banks


The Seimas adopted the Law on Temporary Solidarity Contribution, under which it was agreed to channel part of the banks’ windfall net interest income to finance projects of military mobility and military transport infrastructure. The temporary solidarity contribution is expected to generate around EUR 410 million over the period of validity of the Law.


With a view to achieving a better work and family balance, the Seimas decided to increase the minimum child benefits and incentives to work while raising a child, as well as to improve conditions for caregivers of family members and for persons voluntarily undergoing treatment for addictions. As the result of the respective legislative amendments, the net minimum social insurance maternity, paternity and childcare benefits increase by EUR 92 as from 1 July 2023. Due to the amendments to the Law on State Social Assistance Benefits, as from 1 July, some individuals will benefit from the increase of the base amount of the social assistance benefit used for setting the amount of the social assistance disability benefit. 


Under the amendments to the Law on Excise Duty, fossil fuel exemptions and subsidies for gas oils, coal, coke, lignite, diesel, and liquefied petroleum gas in cylinders will be phased out as from 2024. The excise duty rates applied to the above products will be consistently increased. Peat for heating, as a new type of fuel, will also be subject to excise duty. From 2025 onwards, the excise duty rate will also include a carbon component in proportion to carbon emissions from the fuel type, which will increase proportionally each year.


The Seimas took the first step to discuss a tax reform aiming at a fairer and more balanced tax system, which would contribute to reducing income inequalities, promoting business growth and innovation, achieving the goals of the green agenda and making tax payments more convenient. The Seimas is planning to resume the tax reform debate in the autumn after the draft laws are considered by the parliamentary committees.


Speeding up the synchronisation with the European grid


The Seimas decided to establish a legal framework to prepare for the speedier disconnection of the power grid from the IPS/UPS system. The Lithuanian power grid must be ready for the connection and synchronous operation with the European continental network in 2024 rather than in 2025.


The amendments to the Law on Electricity enable the independent electricity supplier to unilaterally reduce the price of electricity supply for household consumers. Household consumers have to be informed about the intended reduction in writing or by means of electronic communications.


The Seimas approved the restructuring of the heat sector and adopted amendments to the Law on the Heat Sector providing for modernisation, which will enable a clearer planning of the development of the heat sector and a more transparent pricing. The amendments to the Law will promote long-term planning of heat supply systems, decarbonisation, improvement of heat efficiency and motivation measures for investments ensuring quality heat supply.


Changes for electric scooter drivers and intercity carriers


The Seimas decided to introduce new requirements and bans for drivers of electric scooters and other electric micromobility vehicles as from the next year. Local governments will exercise their discretion to decide on some of the restrictive measures. The aim is to ensure the safety of all road users.


As from 1 July, amendments to the Road Transport Code establish a liberal business model for carriers operating intercity coaches. The amendments aim to ensure competition between carriers, unhindered access of new companies to the market and higher quality passenger services in the future. The model set out in the Code allows any carrier wishing to provide passenger transport services on intercity coach routes and meeting the requirements for an undertaking to obtain authorisation to operate the service.


To implement the provisions of the European Directive, the Seimas changed the marginal rate of the road user charge and set maximum charge rates, which will come into force as from the beginning of the next year and will depend on the Euro emission class and on the number of axles in the vehicle. The additional charges collected will be used to finance the road infrastructure and compensate for the damage caused by transport.


Other relevant decisions include shortening the time limit for the imposition of administrative fines to 60 calendar days when violations are recorded by stationary or mobile systems, in photographs or videos. In unavoidable circumstances, narrower sections of roads are legalised as from 1 July. As from 2024, the land of the Šventoji Seaport, its infrastructure and area, will be managed, by the right of trust, by the Port Authority, an enterprise established by the decision of the Municipal Council of Palanga. To improve the procedure for the transfer of streets of gardeners’ societies to municipalities, additional possibilities were created for the transfer of roads of gardeners’ societies to municipalities.


New national adult education platform to be launched


The introduction of the national adult education platform is among the novelties in Lithuania. The new system of Individual Learning Accounts is being developed with the aim of facilitating targeted adult learning by ensuring convenient access to relevant information, counselling and possibilities to finance learning in a one-stop-shop unified inter-institutional system.



The Seimas also tightened the monitoring of school attendance and introduced the obligation for schools to inform the parents about a pupil’s absence from school or class on the same day and to inform the State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service about the cases when parents fail to ensure the duty of pupils below the age of 16 to attend school.


Accessibility to pharmaceutical services to be further ensured for the population


The Seimas adopted amendments to the Law on Pharmacy aimed at ensuring accessibility of pharmaceutical services and medicinal products to the general public, especially in the areas where there is only one pharmacy. As from 1 July, pharmacies in towns with less than 3,000 inhabitants and in rural residential areas are allowed to employ assistant pharmacist working without a pharmacist. In such a case, a pharmacist is responsible for distance supervision of the work of an assistant.


The amendments to the Law on Pharmacy establish requirements for trademark medicinal products, improve the regulation of their acquisition from other states of the European Economic Area and from third countries, and further specify the terms for prescription of unregistered medicinal products.


The Seimas approved the National Agenda on Drugs, Tobacco and Alcohol Control, Use Prevention and Harm Reduction by 2035. It is a strategic planning document providing for long-term strategic goals, tasks, directions for implementation of tasks, and impact indicators aimed at applying a health-based approach to the use of psychoactive substances and helping people to protect or restore their health, well-being and quality of life.


The amendments to the Law on Control of Tobacco, Tobacco Products and Related Products aim to eliminate the exemptions for vaping tobacco products as from 23 October 2023. Pursuant to the amended Law, these products may no longer contain flavours and have to be labelled in accordance with the new requirements.


New Media Support Fund in the making  


The Seimas devoted much attention to cultural issues in its spring session. To mark the 20th anniversary of Lithuania’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union, the 100th anniversary of the Lithuanian Song Festival, and the significant accomplishments of the diplomats of the Lozoraitis family, the Seimas decided to declare 2024 the year of NATO and the European Union, the Song Festival and the Day of the Diplomats of the Lozoraitis Family.


Amendments to the Law on the Provision of Information to the Public are aimed to restructure the model of supporting the media and to set up the Media Support Fund, a new public entity. The objective of this Fund is to provide state support to producers and disseminators of public information in their pursuit for media pluralism, diversity of opinion and national cultures, public access to socially meaningful and culture-promoting information, including information accessibility for persons with disabilities.


The new version of the Law on Museums defines the mission of museums by linking it with the goals of cultural education and learning of society, the aspiration to acquire new knowledge, and the need to enjoy meaningful leisure time. The Law also establishes the basic principles of museum activities, such as responsibility, openness and non-discrimination, expertise, creativity, transparency and publicity.  The changes are aimed at steadily improving the quality of services provided to visitors.


The Seimas approved a new version of the Law on Patronage aimed at promoting greater involvement of society and business in patronage and promoting the development of best practices in society. The enacted Law introduces a new category of patrons, namely community patrons.


With a view to reducing the level of online piracy in Lithuania, the Seimas tightened the liability for unauthorised distribution of works in the digital environment.


To mark the 75th anniversary of the largest wave of deportation in Lithuania in the 20th century carried out by the occupation regime of the Soviet Union on 22 May 1948, dubbed Vesna (the Spring), the Seimas adopted a resolution recognising the Communist Party of Lithuania responsible for the torture, destruction and deportation of the Lithuanian population.


Aleksandras Stulginskis Star 2023, an award established by the Seimas, was granted and awarded to Česlovas Juršėnas, Signatory to the Act of Independence of Lithuania, and Ruslan Stefanchuk, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.


Stricter requirements for the construction of farmsteads introduced


The Seimas introduced stricter requirements for the construction of a farmstead to be effective as from 1 July 2023. The aim of stricter requirements is that only persons who are actually engaged in agricultural activities be allowed to construct a residential house with ancillary facilities. Farmers who launched the construction of farmsteads before July this year are allowed to complete the construction in accordance with the previous procedure under more lenient requirements.


The Parliament approved the final reform process in land management and the National Land Service. In this respect, the key developments include the transfer of management of state-owned land in cities and towns to municipalities, which will be obliged to follow the same procedure as from the next year. Municipalities, as the managers of state-owned land in cities and towns, may establish servitudes by transactions with State Forest Enterprise, which manages and uses state forests by the right of trust. The National Land Service is granted the right to establish servitudes by an administrative act for land parcels managed by the right of trust by other entities too. A clearer principle of land lease relations was developed. Plans are to build the Land Information System with a view to efficient management of state-owned land. The changes are expected to enable the completion of the restoration of ownership rights and to help restore the property to the remaining 3,000 Lithuanian citizens.


The amendments to the Criminal Code specify criminal liability for serious environmental offences.


Intelligence Ombudsman appointed for the first time in Lithuania’s history


Several candidates for the posts of state officials or judges were considered at the spring session. The Seimas decided to appoint Aurelijus Gutauskas, Tomas Davulis and Stasys Šedbaras as Justices of the Constitutional Court. Gintaras Goda, Justice of the Constitutional Court, became President of the Constitutional Court.

Judge Danguolė Bublienė was appointed President of the Supreme Court of Lithuania. Nortautas Statkus became the first Intelligence Ombudsman in Lithuania’s history. Artūras Driukas was appointed Chairperson of the Civil Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania. Lina Petronienė took the post of Chairperson of the Central Electoral Commission and Gintaras Valinčius became Chair of the Research Council of Lithuania.


The Seimas approved the nomination of Saulius Lukas Kalėda for the post of a Judge at the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the appointment of Linas Pernavas to the post of Director of the Special Investigation Service, and the appointment of Jadvyga Mardosevič as a Judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania.


Three new Members of the Seimas, namely, Vilius Semeška, Rasa Petrauskienė and Kęstutis Navickas took an oath to join the legislature in the spring session.


The Seimas also decided to institute impeachment proceedings against Petras Gražulis, Member of the Seimas, and to ask the Constitutional Court for a conclusion whether the specific actions of this Member of the Seimas indicated in the conclusion of the Special Investigation Commission of the Seimas are in conflict with the Constitution.


The Seimas meets annually in two regular sessions in spring and autumn. The spring session opens on 10 March and closes on 30 June. The autumn session opens on 10 September and closes on 23 December.



Rimas Rudaitis, Adviser, Press Office, Information and Communication Department, tel. (+370 5) 239 6132, e-mail: [email protected]

   Last updated on 07/11/2023 15:01
   Monika Kutkaitytė