2019.07.31 14:00

Lithuania not considering woman EU commissioner, ruling party says, despite calls to nominate Grybauskaitė

BNS2019.07.31 14:00

Lithuania is not considering delegating a woman to represent the country at the new European Commission, says Ramūnas Karbauskis, leader of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LVŽS).

"All those candidates worth discussing are only men as we don't have women in our government today," Karbauskis told BNS on Wednesday. "We have also not discussed such an option within the government. As far as I know, the woman option is not under discussion."

However, the leading opposition party, the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, has suggested on Tuesday to nominate Dalia Grybauskaitė.

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

Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius told Žinių Radijas (News Radio) that the process to nominate a commissioner proves Lithuania doesn't know how to involve women in politics.

"They can truly achieve a lot, but the potential is not revealed," he said on Wednesday.

Based on media reports, incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has sent a letter to Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda, asking for Lithuania to send a female candidate for European commissioner.

But the leader of the LVŽS, which has already proposed Economy and Innovation Minister Virginijus Sinkevicčus for the position, says Lithuania cannot resolve the gender equality problem at the Commission.

"Lithuania is not the country that has to resolve the men and women's issue at the European Commission. We need to have a proper candidate who would represent Lithuania the best," Karbauskis said.

President Gitanas Nausėda and Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis discussed possible candidates for Lithuania's European commissioner on Wednesday morning.

The LVŽS leader said the government is not expected to make the decision today on who would be submitted for the parliament's approval.

The opposition believes Sinkevičius is not experienced enough and would not get an important portfolio.

A candidate for European commissioner is nominated by the government upon coordination with the president and Seimas. Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has not named his favorite for the position yet.

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

Lithuania is now represented by Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis at the European Commission, in charge of health and food safety.

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