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Wednesday 21.08.2019 | Name days: Linda, Janīna
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Candidate: climate change is not a priority for Lithuania but it could open new avenues

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Virginijus Sinkevicius

Currently Lithuania is not engaged in active discussions about global warming. However, this topic could become hot during the next parliamentary elections. On top of that, climate change could offer new opportunities, said Lithuania’s European commissioner candidate Virginijus Sinkevičius in an interview to public media LRT.

Last week Lithuania’s Economy and Innovations Minister Virginijus Sinkevičius became the country’s possible candidate to work in the European Commission (EC).

In spite of EC President Ursula von der Leyen’s request for member states to pick a man and a woman as candidates, she nonetheless voiced support for Sinkevičius after meeting with him.

Sinkevičius did not detain any specific ambitions in relation to any of the posts in his interview to LRT. He did, however, talk about climate change and the possibility of him as the only ‘green’ candidate having to be in charge of energy and climate change affairs in the EC. He does not deny – because these topics are important for Leyen, it could be an influential post.

Sinkevičius as a candidate could find support in the green bloc of the European Parliament because he hails from Lithuania’s Farmers and Greens Union, political observers say. At the same time, this party has not been particularly active when it comes to climate change policy development. Lithuania is also the only country in the European Union whose government has no women.

Sinkevičius does not deny there are people in the party who are not all that interested in climate change or animal rights.

«We cannot talk about climate change in Lithuania, because the number-one problem is social exclusion, therefore the priorities are ordered in that way,»

LRT was told by the EC candidate, adding that Lithuania will not escape the climate change issue. He is confident that it will be one of the hottest topics in the next parliamentary elections.

«We must find our place in this difficult mission, but I think it is also an opportunity, because, clearly, the goals will be very ambitious,» he said.

«This means opportunities, new technologies and I hope that Lithuania will not shy away from climate change [action], but will be brave like, say, Finland which now presides over the European Union,» he added.

Lithuania’s candidate is young and relatively inexperienced in politics. The 28-year-old man entered politics in 2016 and became a minister the following year. This might not be good for him when the European Parliament will be interviewing potential commissioners in autumn. In the same interview the politician told LRT that he is certain politics are unpredictable, adding that he is prepared to answer all questions and provide well-constructed answers.

The article originally appeared on LRT English


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