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2019.08.22 09:59

Lithuanian parliament approves nomination of Economy Minister Sinkevičius to European Commission

Saulius Jakučionis, BNS2019.08.22 09:59

The Lithuanian parliament Thursday approved the nomination of Economy and Innovation Minister Virginijus Sinkevičius for European commissioner.

The motion was passed in a vote of 89 to ten with six abstentions.

The nomination of the 28-year-old member of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union has already been approved by the government and President Gitanas Nausėda. Sinkevičius will now face hearings and a vote in the European Parliament.

“I want to be the candidate of Lithuania as a whole. This is important for me as a politician, as a person, and, most importantly, as a representative of Lithuania's post-independence generation,” the nominee told the parliament.

Farmers and Greens' MP Stasys Tumėnas called on lawmakers to support Sinkevičius whose “competence, drive and innovative solutions has already shown that he is ready to work not only for Lithuania's welfare state, but also for Europe as a whole”.

Sinkevičius also received the backing of some opposition MPs.

“We should not be airing our internal rifts and (dirty) laundry all over Europe today,” said MP Mykolas Majauskas of the conservative Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats.

The opposition Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP) voted against the nomination.

Social Democratic MP Algirdas Sysas described Sinkevičius as “a product of infighting” within his party “who is now trying and will try to represent Lithuania”.

Julius Sabatauskas, head of the LSDP political group in the Seimas, said the candidate lacked basic knowledge of processes in the European Union and was inconsistent in his views.

“We have seen that he has no views or these views are as changeable as his parliamentary group,” he said.

Sinkevičius has served as economy and innovation minister since 2017.

His career includes positions at the state-run airport operator Lietuvos Oro Uostai (Lithuanian Airports), Lietuvos Paštas (Lithuanian Post) and the government's foreign investment promotion agency Invest Lithuania.

Sinkevičius has also previously worked at the Washington-based Center for European Policy Analysis and has done a traineeship at the Lithuanian embassy in the United States.

The new European Commission will take office in November. Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, Lithuania's outgoing European commissioner, is in charge of health and food safety.

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