2019.07.30 17:00

Conservatives want former president Grybauskaitė to be Lithuania's EU commissioner

BNS2019.07.30 17:00

Lithuania should nominate its former president Dalia Grybauskaitė to the European Commission, the conservative opposition party Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats has suggested.

“Our community would see former President Dalia Grybauskaitė as a candidate,” conservative leader Gabrielius Landsbergis wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis on Tuesday.

In his opinion, when selecting the best candidate for European commissioner, “it is important to take into account the partisan criteria” and to appoint “the most experienced person with great knowledge of the EU's internal and foreign policy affairs and a good international reputation.”

Grybauskaitė served as Lithuania's president for two terms from 2009 until early July this year. Before that, she was the European commissioner in charge of financial programming and budget in 2004-2009.

Grybauskaitė's office has told BNS that “the president is not seeking to be a candidate for European commissioner”.

If Grybauskaitė refused, the conservatives have suggested other candidates: former conservative Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, diplomat Vygaudas Ušackas, conservative MEP Rasa Juknevičienė, conservative MP Žygimantas Pavilionis or conservative former MEP Laima Liucija Andrikienė.

“We would also be prepared to consider supporting politicians with significant European experience from other political parties, like former minister and incumbent [social democrat] MEP Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, former [social democrat] minister and member of the European Court of Auditors Rasa Budbergytė or [liberal] MEP Petras Auštrevičius,” Landsbergis said.

Last week, the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union decided to propose 28-year-old Economy Minister Virginijus Sinkevičius as the country's candidate to be a member of the next European Commission. The opposition have said he is not experienced enough and would not get an important portfolio.

A candidate for the European Commission is nominated by the government, but it has to coordinate the decision with the president and parliament. Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has not named his favourite for the position yet.

The new European Commission will be led by former German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen.

Lithuania's current EU commissioner is Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis who is in charge of health and food safety.

Read more: Lithuania should move fast or risk losing influential portfolio in EC, president says

Read more: Lithuania ‘late’ in picking its EU commissioner, foreign minister says

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