Public policy with regard to religious communities in Lithuania and Latvia: instruments of direct subsidies and tax incentives

Saulius Pivoras, Karolina Presniakovaitė


This article provides comparative analysis of how most popular financial instruments of public policy are used in the public funding of religious communities in Lithuania and Latvia. It was attempted to identify connections between state support and the implementation of the goals of social and cultural policy. Lithuania see’s religious communities (primarily traditional) as an important actor in the social policy making, as it is written in various legal acts. Latvia does not postulate similar position so unambiguously. Lithuania in comparison with Latvia distinguishes in that it gives constant direct annual subsidies to the traditional religious communities. These subsidies consist of basic part and variable part, which on its turn is dependent upon the number of confession members. Direct subsidies for traditional religious communities in Lithuania are given, as it is officially named, for reconstruction of church buildings and for other needs. It is impossible to correctly identify, evaluate and especially to control connection between the spending of dotation money and implementation of the goals of social or cultural policy while “other needs“ are not defined more precisely. In Latvia there are no constant direct subsidies for religious communities with the exception of annual dotation for maintenance of Aglona shrine according to agreement with the Holy Seat. Financial support is given by concretely expressed ad hoc demand (maintenance of concrete church buildings, etc.). Tax incentives are mostly identical in Lithuania and Latvia.


religious communities, policy instruments, direct subsidies, tax incentives.

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"Public Policy and Administration" ISSN online 2029-2872 / ISSN print 1648-2603