VILNIUS – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has vetoed amendments to the Law on the Permanent Representative of the Seimas to the European Union.
The president says the law "must not raise doubts as to Lithuania's unanimously formulated foreign policy".
In his decree, Nauseda points out that the functions of the Seimas representative are very similar to those of diplomats.
Under the Constitution, it is the government that is responsible for establishing and maintaining diplomatic relations with foreign states and international organizations, therefore "the validity of the delegation of functions of a diplomatic nature to the representatives of the Seimas is questionable", according to the president.
He suggests supplementing the law by a provision requiring that the establishment of any new position of the Seimas representative be approved by the Foreign Ministry.
Nauseda also proposes that the posts of permanent representatives of the Seimas should only be established in EU and NATO member states that are strategically important for Lithuania.
The law, in its current form, does not specify to what countries such representatives can be sent, which is a legal loophole, according to the president.
Nauseda noted that the original law, adopted back in 2002, and the creation of the position of the Seimas representative to the EU were aimed at strengthening cooperation between the Lithuanian parliament and the European Parliament. Therefore, the new wording of the law "deviates significantly from the original idea of strengthening European integration".
The Lithuanian parliament passed the new wording of the Law on the Permanent Representative of the Seimas to the European Union on October 19.
The legislation would allow the Seimas to have its permanent representative, and if necessary its deputy representative, in the foreign country where the parliament decides one is needed.
Under the new law, a candidate for the post of representative would be selected from among career civil servants of the Office of the Seimas. Their nomination would be considered by the parliamentary committees on foreign affairs and European affairs, and would have to be endorsed by the Board of the Seimas and the foreign minister.
MP Zygimantas Pavilionis, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and one of the initiators of the bill, said that it would open the way for the Seimas to have its representative to the US Congress.
The existing law only allows the Seimas to have its representative to the EU.
Nauseda believes that the post of the Seimas permanent representative to the US would strengthen inter-parliamentary cooperation between the two countries, his office said in a press release on Friday.