Lithuanian president on EU summit survey: people have more understanding than politicians

  • 2021-04-25
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda believes the country should continue to be represented by president at EU summits, which a public survey, published on Friday, showed.

Its results show people often have more understanding than certain politicians, the president said.

"I believe that people often have enough understanding and often have more of it than certain politicians," Nauseda told journalists during his Friday visit to the western town of Plateliai.

In his words, the public understands what mandate they give to president when they elect this leader, therefore, people find attempts by "party functioneers" to change that mandate not acceptable.

"These are simple things. I think when people elect president of Lithuania, people know the Constitution and what mandate president has and they give president that mandate," the president said. "If party functioneers afterwards try to redraw the mandate map, people find that unacceptable. So I think people have had their say, and now the question is of whether we will have enough wisdom to listen to that opinion."

More than half of Lithuanians believe that President Gitanas Nauseda should continue to represent the country in EU summits, an opinion poll by Vilmorus for BNS and published on Friday showed.

The pollster asked a thousand people which of the two leaders – Nauseda or Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte – should represent the country in the European Council.

Some 56.1 percent of the respondents said the president should continue to do so and 18.6 percent thought that Simonyte should take over this role. Another 25.3 percent said they had no opinion.

The current tradition of the president going to EU summits started under Dalia Grybauskaite. Before that, the country was sometimes represented at the European Council by the prime minister, too.

The conservative Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats (HU-LCD), the biggest party in the current parliament, are considering adopting a law to require that Lithuania should send its prime minister, not the president, to EU summits.

The initiators say the prime minister should go to EU summits because EU leaders 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 Homeland Union are using double standards in a bid to expand their influence, saying that the conservatives let 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.