Juozas Olekas, a member of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party's (LSDP) political group in the Seimas, has accused the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU), the senior coalition partner, and the opposition Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats of trading in influence.
Morning Seimas seating
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

"What we see today is almost official trading in influence. I heard the head of one political group saying, 'If you back this bill, we'll back that bill, if you support this, we'll support that," he told the parliament during debates on draft amendments to the Law on Forests.

Ramūnas Karbauskis, the LFGU leader, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and Gabrielius Landsbergis, the Homeland Union's leader, earlier in the day signed a deal under which the opposition party will back the government's planned state forest management reform in exchange for the ruling party's support for a reduced VAT rate on district heating and hot water services.

The deal calls for passing amendments to the Law on Forests by the end of the current parliamentary session as part of Lithuania's efforts to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The parties also agreed that "in an effort to alleviate energy poverty and social exclusion", the government would propose to reintroduce a reduced VAT rate on district heating and hot water services in the next heating season, with the necessary legislation expected to be passed by Oct. 1.

The LFGU needs opposition votes to pass the amendments to the Law on Forests as the LSDP, the junior coalition partner, does not back the government's proposed forest sector overhaul.

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