October 2020 - June 2022

The Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in its 2018 Report on local democracy in Lithuania notes the need by Lithuanian authorities to take measures to develop the regional tier, increasing the competences and the capacities of their administrative apparatus. Similarly, the 2020 European Semester’s Country Report – Lithuania reconfirms the persistently high regional disparities in Lithuania which pose a challenge to achieving more cohesive and sustainable growth in these regions, and also put significant pressure on the quality and efficiency of public services.

Lithuania reacted upon these issues of concern and with the support of the Council of Europe though its project “Delivering Good Governance in Lithuania” adopted the Law on Regional Development that paves the way for the creation of its regions. It is the first step in Lithuania’s intentions to promote regional development, boost progress throughout its territory to ultimately provide better governance and services to its citizens.

At the request of the Government of Lithuania, the Council of Europe’s Centre of Expertise for Good Governance is starting a new project “Establishment of legal, institutional and financial framework at regional (county) level, capacity-building to enhance quality of regional public administration in Lithuania” to provide technical assistance in the process of setting up the new regional structures and enable the regional and local administration to implement the regional policy. The project is funded by the European Commission via the Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM). The project’s two main objectives are:

1. Provide Recommendations for improvements of the institutional set up and performance of the Lithuanian regions, through preparation of policy advice on:

  • programming and planning process, fiscal decentralisation, institutional set-up of regions; and
  • territorial / regional development strategies, including cross-border and interregional aspects.

2. Capacity-building for regional and local authorities, based on the relevant Council of Europe tools in the following areas:

  • Setting out the aims and objectives of the region for the medium-term future, exploring possibilities for linkages between national, regional and municipal level planning, strategic and spatial planning, as well as the aspect of citizen participation in the process, by implementing the Council of Europe toolkit on Strategic Municipal Planning adapted to regional planning.
  • Ensuring best use of available resources at all levels to build up specific knowledge on budget planning and efficient use though the Council of Europe toolkits on local finance.
  • Harmonisation of functions and human resources allocation in the regions, through the implementation of the Council of Europe toolkit on Human Resources Management.