VILNIUS – The Ministries of Economy and Innovation and Energy will be merged, irrespective of the fact whether a new minister (of economy – BNS) will be found or not, Ramunas Karbauskis, leader of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, says.
"If a minister is appointed, the ministries will be merged in any case. The issue is not related to whether a minister will be appointed or not," Karbauskis told the Ziniu Radijas news radio on Wednesday. "Since the merger of the Energy and Economy and Innovation Ministries is part of our election program, we will do it."
The government is also considering transferring some of the Environment Ministry's functions to the merged ministry, Karbauskis said.
"Yes, we are considering transferring some of the functions now being carried out by the Ministry of Environment to the merged ministry. We've had a discussion on the construction sector as now the Ministry of Environment issues permits and also controls, which is not understandable and right," the LFGU leader said.
In his words, the ministries will be merged by the start of the new Seimas, i.e., by around the middle of November.
"The new Seimas will already have one ministry and will accordingly look for one minister," Karbauskis said.
A possible merger of the two ministries was also discussed during the president's Monday meting with the prime minister. The situation around the position of economy minister can be resolved two ways: either the prime minister nominates a new candidate, or this ministry could be merged with other ministries, presidential spokesman Antanas Bubnelis told journalists after the meeting.
The position of economy and innovation minister has been vacant since December when Virginijus Sinkevicius assumed the position of a European commissioner. Last month, the Lithuanian president rejected Lukas Savickas, an adviser to the prime minister, as a candidate for economy minister.