Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis admits that his government failed to achieve major reforms during its first year in office, but he expects key decisions on overhauling the higher education, tax and pension systems to be made next year.
"As regards (reducing study) program duplication, discarding non-viable programs, improving the quality (of study programs), changing the minimum admission threshold and introducing free undergraduate studies, the government will ensure that we have that system in place by next September," he told a LRT television program on Tuesday evening.
The prime minister noted that the Seimas was launching discussions on specific draft legislation on the planned state university mergers. He expects "at least preparatory work on this reform" to be completed in the near future.
Skvernelis admitted that the government and the parliament had failed to deliver on their promise to overhaul the tax system by the end of this year.
He said that disagreements within the ruling coalition last summer and the subsequent split-up of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP) were in part to blame for this, noting that a solid majority was needed to pass such measures.
"We are planning to carry out a fundamental tax reform next year, as well as a pension reform. We have no other option. We are not speaking about raising taxes to collect revenue for redistribution, because this can no longer be done," Skvernelis said.
"I believe we will carry out that reform with the the backing from members of the Seimas," he added.