Lithuania's parliament on Tuesday approved the 2018 budget, the first budget in the country's history with the government sector's revenue expected to top the spending, and Lithuania finally meeting its commitment to NATO of earmarking 2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) to defence.
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The budget was voted by 84 MPs against 29, with 15 abstentions.

The opposition says that the next year's revenue-spending plan was not focused on the future, while the ruling coalition sees it as better than earlier budgets.

The 2018 state budget is projected to feature a deficit, while the social security and health budgets along with municipal budgets should be a surplus. The surplus of the public finances should stand at 0.6 percent of the GDP, 0.5 percentage points above this year's level (0.1 pct of the GDP). If the plans become reality, Lithuania's public finances would be in surplus for three consecutive years.

Finance Minister Vilius Šapoka says the main focus of the next year's budge tis on reduction of poverty, the country's safety, health care and promotion of entrepreneurship and investments. In his words, the efforts to reduce social exclusion will be granted 600 million euros more than this year.

In 2018, the state's revenue should stand at 9.071 billion euros (including EUR 2.304 b in support from the European Union and other international aid), while spending should total 9.558 billion euros (EUR 2.101 b).

BNS
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