News2019.07.15 12:00

Lithuanian president Nausėda sees 'two-speed Lithuania', pledges to reduce social exclusion

Lithuania's new President Gitanas Nausėda called out "two-speed Lithuania," and pledged to reduce social inequality during his swearing in ceremony on July 12. He further pledged to avoid confrontation with the parliament, Seimas, and the elected government.

Addressing the parliament after his swearing-in on Friday, Nausėda said he would asses the government based on its ability to reduce social exclusion.

According to Nausėda, part of people do not feel the fact that, historically, Lithuania "today is probably living the most successful and economically richest period in the country's history".

"When we speak of a two-speed Europe, how could we not see that we have created a two-speed Lithuania? We need to realize there will be no welfare state if we only care about ourselves, if social exclusion keeps on growing and people feel alien in their own country," Nausėda said.

The head of state also vowed to pull political forces together to have a national agreement on changes in the education sector.

On foreign policy, Nausėda said he would aim for "even deeper euro-Atlantic integration and closer ties with both the European Union and the United States".

The new president also underlined the need for Lithuania to continue bolstering the state's defense capabilities.

"We have to strengthen security, to meet commitment on funding the national defense system by investing into defense capabilities, increasing regular armed forces and expanding the active reserve as well the number of citizens ready to defend the country," Nausėda said.

"I will cooperate with all government institutions, seeking maximum benefit for the country [...] and not being involved in conflicts and confrontation" with Seimas and the Government, Nausėda told journalists at the parliament following his swearing-in ceremony on Friday.

"We just need to have a cool and a wise head," he added.

Nausėda takes over Dalia Grybauskaitė, who served as Lithuania's president two terms from 2009.

As an independent candidate, Nausėda was elected Lithuania's president on May 26, receiving 66 percent of votes.

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