Members of the Labour Party Vytautas Gapšys and Šarūnas Birutis, who is also the Minister of Culture, claim that the incorporation of the Department of Physical Education and Sports and the Department of Youth Affairs into the Ministry of Culture would allow to better represent youth and sports affairs on the highest political level.
Ministry of Culture
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

Gapšys registered the Government's draft law on the reorganisation of the Culture Ministry this week. According to the politician, if his idea is supported, then at least 20 other legal acts would have to be amended. Gapšys says sports and youth affairs would continue to be solved on the inter-institutional level, but would be coordinated by the new Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

At the moment, the Department of Youth Affairs operates under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour. While the Department of Physical Education and Sports operates under the Government. Sarunas Birutis says youth, sports and culture affairs are often interrelated in the European Union's institutions and in other countries are represented by same ministers.

"Ministers of culture and sports continue to take part in the EU's councils, whereas the Lithuanian culture minister has to be replaced by another minister at the same sitting that continues deliberating on the same issues of culture and sports," Birutis said during a press conference at the Lithuanian Parliament.

According to Birutis, the Ministry of Culture is one of the smallest ministries in Lithuania, but if the aforementioned departments were incorporated, the ministry would gain greater political significance, while sports and youth affairs would be shifted to higher political level. President of the Lithuanian Youth Council (LiJOT) Mantas Zakarka emphasised that youth affairs are now mostly perceived as reduction of youth unemployment, while other areas seem to be forgotten.

"There are many other topics - volunteering, entrepreneurship, active recreation, active civic participation, political and financial literacy," said Zakarka.

Gapšys added that substantial funds would not be required if it was prepared for the reorganisation in advance. It is expected to save funds by improving the efficiency of the new institution while the economic and social impact would be positive.

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