VILNIUS – Political bickering between the ruling Conservatives and President Gitanas Nauseda over who should represent Lithuania at the European Council has already started damaging the country’s reputation, ex-President Dalia Grybauskaite has said.
According to her, constitutional arguments over representation are in favor of the president.
“In my opinion, constitutional arguments related to participation are in favor of the president, irrespective of the specific persons, whether you like them or not. Political arguments point to the need of a constructive dialogue and a joint decision. Meanwhile, we see intolerance demonstrated openly in public from each party and this damages the reputation of the state for sure,” she told reporters in the Seimas on Tuesday.
Grybauskaite was invited to the parliament on the occasion of Nauseda’s second annual State of the Nation Address, which he delivered earlier on Tuesday.
Asked to comment the address, former president said that she sought “not to rate the president or his speeches”.
“I’d only like to say that the year was difficult, for all of us, including the president: the pandemic and foreign policy challenges, as well as tensions that have emerged both within the country and at our borders with at least two aggressive neighbors,” Grybauskaite added.
The conservative Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats began to raise the representation issue after winning last autumn's parliamentary election.
The conservatives are considering adopting a law to allow sending Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte to EU summits. too.
The initiators say the prime minister should go to EU summits because the bloc's leaders mostly discuss issues falling within the government's remit and because it cannot be ensured the president adheres to the mandate approved by the Seimas and the government. They also note that the president does not participate in European political parties' activities.
Critics maintain that the Conservatives are using double standards in a bid to expand their influence, saying that they let President Grybauskaite take their place at the European Council and it is only now that they began to raise the issue.
Nauseda says he will continue to represent Lithuania at all summits.