Lithuania is taking steps to fix its decision on the refund deadline for tourists affected by the coronavirus crisis to avoid EU sanctions. Under the plans, people would recover their money within 14 days, instead of the existing 90 days, as the Lithuanian Seimas decided last spring.
Lithuania set to bring tourist refund deadline back to 14 days to avoid EU sanctions
© DELFI / Josvydas Elinskas

After the European Commission launched infringement proceeding against Lithuania, its government is set to on Wednesday discuss a proposal to renounce the extended deadline in the Civil Code, which runs against the EU directive.

"Following the adoption of the bill, the non-compliance with the directive will be resolved and a potential process involving the European Court of Justice will be avoided. (…) Tourists' right to receive a refund for a cancelled trip within 14 days will be ensured," the bill's explanatory note reads.

Milda Plepyte-Rainiene, head of the Lithuanian Tourism Association, says the shorter deadline might pose threat to the operation of some travel agencies.

"The change from 90 days back to 14 says will definitely cause operational difficulties for travel agencies. (…) We don’t say the money tourists paid is gone. It's not. Just the operation principle of travel agencies is such that a lot of advance payments are done to airlines, foreign partners, hotels and transportation companies, and to get that money back amid the ongoing situation in the world is very difficult," she told BNS.

If the Seimas adopts the amendments, travel agencies will be left the right to reach agreement with tourists by offering them coupons for other trips, valid for 12 months.

The EC announced in early July that the national package travel rules in Lithuania and another nine EU member states violated EU law, and the EC launches infringement proceedings.

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