Thursday

19th Sep 2019

EU budget commissioner to run for Lithuanian presidency

  • Ms Grybauskaite has a strong chances of winning the elections, according to polls (Photo: European Commission)

EU budget commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite will be running in the presidential elections in her native Lithunia on 17 May, she announced on Thursday (26 February).

"I can – and I want – to use my experience, my knowledge and my abilities to pull us out of the political and economic shadows," Ms Grybauskaite told reporters in Vilnius, French news agency AFP reports.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The 52-year-old commissioner, who is seen as the favourite for the top job, said she would run as an independent centrist candidate.

"I want to remain an independent candidate in order to make decisions which are only for the good of Lithuania," she said.

Ms Grybauskaite has been EU commissioner for financial programming and budgets since Lithuania became an EU member in 2004.

She will remain on her post until 17 April – the date of the official launch of the electoral campaign in Lithuania – when she will take a leave from the commission until the end of the elections.

Her announcement comes as the financial crisis has hit the formerly booming Baltic country's economy particularly hard.

Public anger at the worsening economic situation gave rise to a riot outside of the Lithuanian parliament in January, which Ms Grybauskaite said played an important part in her decision to run for president.

An economist herself – and a former finance minister – she said she would put a specific emphasis on internal political and economic issues.

A February poll showed she would outrun current president Valdas Adamkus by 26 to 11 percent, according to the Baltic News Service, with the figures also indicating a possible runoff of the two best candidates on 7 June.

Other candidates confirming that they will participate in the elections included parliamentary speaker and former TV game show host Arunas Valinskas, retired general Ceslovas Jezerskas and independent candidate and chairwoman of the Peasant Popular Union Kazimiera Prunskiene.

Former finance minister becomes Latvia's new premier

Meanwhile, Latvian president Valdis Zatlers on Thursday appointed former finance minister Valdis Dombrovskis as the country's new prime minister, following the fall of the previous government last week.

Mr Zatlers said he had chosen Mr Dombrovskis because the 37-year-old physicist and economist had a majority support in parliament and because of his knowledge in the field of finance and economics, the BBC reports.

Mr Dombrovskis, who is a member of the European Parliament from the centre-right EPP-ED party, is now to hold talks with other political parties on forming a new government.

Latvia's former premier, Ivars Godmanis, resigned last Friday after losing the support of his two main coalition partners and amid strong criticism over his government's handling of the financial crisis. It was the first political casualty in the EU resulting from the crisis.

Latvia was the European Union's fastest growing economy after joining the bloc in 2004, but in the last quarter of 2008 it was the worst-performing one, contracting by 10.5 percent. Its GDP is also expected to fall 12 percent in 2009.

Focus

Lithuanian President dubbed 'extraordinary European'

Lithuanian President Grybauskaite has been awarded the Charlemagne Prize for her "outstanding" merits in European politics, just as her country prepares to take over the EU presidency.

Defending the 'European way of life' name splits MEPs

European People's Party group leader Manfred Weber defended Ursula von der Leyen's decision to rename a commission portfolio, partly dealing with migration, "protecting the European way of life". He said it means rescuing people in the Mediterranean.

Hungary claims EU 'witch-hunt' over rule of law hearing

Hungary was quizzed by EU ministers over its domestic crackdown on media, judges, academia and NGOs. Hungary's minister responded by saying the country had defended "the European way of life" for centuries, and it should be respected.

EU divided on how to protect rule of law

Poland and Hungary have argued that rule of law is purely a domestic matter and the EU should respect legal traditions, but Dutch foreign minister warned backsliding was a worry for all.

Catalonia celebrates national day ahead of trial verdicts

Catalonia celebrated on Wednesday its national day - while awaiting the trial verdict on 12 Catalan separatists, former politicians of Carles Puigdemont's government. That decision is expected for early October.

News in Brief

  1. EU adds €100m to research and Erasmus budgets
  2. Ambassador: UK Poles should 'seriously considering' leaving
  3. Trump's UK ambassador stirs up anti-EU feeling
  4. Brexit chaos is lesson to other EU states, ECB governor says
  5. EU condemns Israel's latest land grab
  6. Scotland to keep some laws aligned with EU after Brexit
  7. Spain to hold fresh election in November
  8. Turkey ups pressure on visa-free entry into EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. A new Commission for the one percent
  2. Juncker: No-deal Brexit 'palpable'
  3. Germany adopts blockchain strategy and says no to Libra
  4. Revanchist Russia continues to rewrite European history
  5. How EU trains discriminate against the disabled
  6. These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission
  7. Defending the 'European way of life' name splits MEPs
  8. Hungary claims EU 'witch-hunt' over rule of law hearing

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us