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HomeLithuaniaLithuania mulls easing construction rules in preparation for Rheinmetall project

Lithuania mulls easing construction rules in preparation for Rheinmetall project

The Economy and Innovation Ministry proposes to amend several laws to enable major Western arms and ammunition producers, including Germany’s defense industry giant Rheinmetall, to swiftly relocate production to Lithuania.

The ministry has drafted a package of legislative amendments aimed, among other things, at allowing construction of large-scale projects, officially recognized by the government as meeting the state’s urgent security and defense needs, to begin without the usual building permit.

Economy and Innovation Minister Ausrine Armonaite says the amendments target, among others, Rheinmetall, which has plans to build a 155 mm artillery ammunition factory in Lithuania.

“The Rheinmetall project could also benefit from these changes (…) and I hope it will when we develop it,” she told BNS.

According to the ministry, the changing geopolitical situation requires developing Lithuania’s defense industry capabilities and reducing its dependency on the import of weapons, ammunition and other military products.

The ministry says the proposed changes would help attract significant manufacturing projects that “would likely contribute to the defense capabilities not only of Lithuania, but also of the whole of Europe and Ukraine”.

The proposed amendments to the Laws on Investment, Land, Territorial Planning, and Construction would allow the government to designate a major defense industry investment as a project of immediate importance for national security.

“This is a green corridor for major investments in defense and security,” Armonaite said. “We are creating a new status and reducing the bureaucratic burden for investment projects of significance for Lithuania’s security and defense situation.”

The status would allow an investor to start building a factory for weapons, ammunition or other defense products without a building permit. However, it would be mandatory to obtain the permit before the construction is completed.

The government would exceptionally allow construction in non-urbanized areas without going through the usual territorial planning procedures with local municipalities. Investors would not be obliged to inform the public about the design process and involve them in the project design discussions. The requirement to make public information on the start of construction work would also be scrapped.

Among other things, the Economy and Innovation Ministry suggests introducing a single document, called a special-purpose project, to swiftly deal with land plot formation and other relevant issues.

“The proposed legal regulation will only be applied in exceptional circumstances, when it is necessary to ensure the country’s security and defense needs, such as (…) uninterrupted access to the necessary weapons and ammunition for the Lithuanian Armed Forces,” the ministry said.

According to Armonaite, under the current regulation, it takes between 2 and 2.5 years for arms or ammunition manufacturers to prepare the necessary territorial planning and other documents.

Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger confirmed plans to build a 155 mm artillery ammunition factory in Lithuania while presenting the company’s 2023 results last month. He said another new plant would be built in Ukraine.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)

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