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2019.07.08 12:55

Lithuania sends 6 newcomers to European Parliament – key priorities

Žygintas Abromaitis, LRT TV naujienų tarnyba, LRT.lt2019.07.08 12:55

Lithuania is sending six newcomers to the European Parliament following the 2019 election. Many of them, however, will be joining the other five, established delegates.

On the eighth floor, Liudas Mažylis is part of the European People’s Party (EPP), and will work in Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee.

“Main challenge – climate change. My first profession is organic chemistry, which [can be useful],” he told LRT TV, “it’s more solid and convenient, when you understand the processes that are discussed, as you’re representative of this profession, and I’m very happy about that”.

Almost directly in front of his cabinet, Andrius Kubilius has also taken up his position at the EPP. The former Prime Minister of Lithuania, controversially remembered for his role during the financial crisis in 2009, will work in Foreign Affairs and Industry, Research and Energy committees.

According to Kubilius, he will look into matters related to Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, as well as the economy.

“I see a big challenge how to stimulate a faster growth of the economy in Lithuania, as I can see, Lithuania is approaching a period of longterm economic stagnation,” he said.

“And this is where we probably need to look for new EU support instruments, including those which would encourage us to reform our economy.”

Juozas Olekas, Lithuania’s former minister of defence, will join the Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group, and its longterm Lithuanian member, Bronis Ropė, active in Agriculture and Rural Development committee.

“Almost three times difference in payouts for farmers in Lithuania, Greece or other EU state isn’t fair. After 15 years of EU membership, I think that we should equalise these payments,” said Olekas.

Two more Lithuanian MEPs have joined the European People’s Party (EPP) group, Rasa Juknevičienė and Aušra Maldeikienė.

Juknevičienė, the former defence minister, will work in the security and defence subcommittee, with the main focus being “development".

“My interests are in the areas where I have the most knowledge,” and “I’m happy about that, as it isn’t easy” to become part of these committees, she said.

MEP Maldeikienė initially planned to join a liberals’ alliance, but following its decision to merge with France’s En Marche, Maldeikienė looked to find consensus with the Greens, but ended up moving over to the EPP, where she will be part of the Economic and Monetary Affairs committee.

“If I receive the European Affairs committee, it’s likely that after a year or so I can expect [to draft] a report, which would be completely concrete work,” she said.

In the economy committee, MEP Maldeikienė will join MEP Stasys Jakeliūnas, part of the Greens–European Free Alliance. He was previously part of the budget and finance committee at the Lithuanian parliament, Seimas. “[Committee's] work to do with financial sustainability, stability, nations’ debt and banks. These are the priorities,” said Jakeliūnas.