News2019.08.05 12:00

Too much ‘unnecessary hysteria’ about Lithuania's EC nomination, president says

Lithuania is not late with nominating a European commissioner, President Gitanas Nausėda says, responding to fears that the country will not be able to get a portfolio in the next EU Commission it wants.

“Definitely not. There's an unnecessary hysteria, as no decisions have been made yet,” Nausėda told journalists in Ariogala, central Lithuania, on Saturday, referring to claims that areas of responsibility have already been distributed among European Union member-states.

The president also noted that the gender of Lithuania's EC nominee was less important than securing “the position it deserves”.

“The most important criteria is for a man or a woman to get a good position. Lithuania has to have a position it deserves. The gender is also important, but we have to agree that the most important thing is to find the right person for that position and that person could get an important commissioner position,” Nausėda said.

The president and Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis discussed the European commissioner's nomination process last week, but did not name any specific candidates after their meeting. Aistis Zabaraukas, a spokesman for the president, then said Lithuania could get a better portfolio if it delegated a woman.

According to media reports, incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has sent a letter to the Lithuanian president, calling on the country to propose a female candidate.

The ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union has already proposed Economy and Innovation Minister Virginijus Sinkevičius for the position, but Zabarauskas said that “consultations are not limited to only one name”.

Under the law, Lithuania's candidate is to be nominated by the government and approved by the president and the parliament.

The term of Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European Commission's Lithuanian member in charge of health and food safety, will end this autumn.

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