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Lithuanian Opposition Pension Plan Threatens Litas, Premier Says

Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said an opposition plan to raise retirement benefits risks undermining the country’s currency.

Lawmakers backed a proposal to increase pensions to pre-crisis levels in a first reading last week, a move that would raise spending by about 500 million litai ($188 million). The proposal requires a final vote in Parliament, where Kubilius’ ruling coalition holds a one-vote majority. In the first vote, the proposal was supported by 64 to 33, with 30 abstentions.

“That’s an irresponsible proposal,” Kubilius said in a radio interview with Ziniu Radijas today. “Do we want to break the financial system? The stability of the litas is a very fragile issue.”

The government introduced two-year cuts to social benefits and pensions at the end of last year, helping reduce spending by about 5 percent of gross domestic product. Pensions were cut by an average of 5 percent from January, while the lowest retirement incomes remained unchanged.

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