Attention concentrated on energy and the European Economy Recovery Plan

Lithuania
Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University
 
The Lisbon Treaty is a very important treaty to Lithuania. As the former Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said – “by ratifying the Lisbon Treaty Lithuania has spoken for a strong, solid and united EU”.[1] Nevertheless, in Lithuania during the December European Council meeting, the attention has been concentrated on the European Council decisions concerning energy and the European Economy Recovery Plan. The Committee on European Affairs of the Lithuanian parliament called these two issues the most important to Lithuania.[2] Therefore the European Council decisions concerning the fate of the Lisbon Treaty did not attract much attention.
 
Little preparation for the European Parliament elections
 
Lithuanian parliament changed the order of the presidential elections, therefore the European Parliament elections in Lithuania will be held together with the second round of the presidential elections. According to the former chairman of the Lithuanian parliament, Česlovas Juršėnas, this measure has been taken in order to stimulate the participation of Lithuanians in the European Parliament elections and to save money.[3]
 
As the member of the European Parliament from Lithuania Aloyzas Sakalas claims, in Lithuania there is still little preparation for the forthcoming European Parliament elections as everybody is still occupied with the problems and affairs of the newly elected national parliament.[4] There are still little public talks upon who would be nominated by the national parties as candidates for the European Parliament elections. Only the Lithuanian conservatives, the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats,[5] which won the biggest number of seats in the autumn elections to the national parliament made public remarks on this subject. As the leader of the party and the Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius declared, the most serious candidates of their party would be the current members of the European Parliament – Vytautas Landsbergis and Laima Andrikienė.[6]
 
High participation in the European Parliament elections is not expected
 
A recently conducted national survey demonstrates that the participation in the elections to the European Parliament in Lithuania will not be high – 52 percent of inhabitants express their intention to go to vote during the European Parliament elections. The resolution of Lithuanians to vote during these elections is decreasing – this figure is lower by 20 percent compared to last year’s results.[7] According to another survey, while choosing which candidate to vote for, Lithuanians consider personality first, the candidate’s position on the Lithuanian issues second, and lastly, his experience in European matters.[8]
While the European Parliament elections get at least some attention, the same cannot be told about the formation of the new European Commission – this issue does not practically attract attention in Lithuanian media. Nevertheless, the current European Commission member from Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė, is a favoured personality by the Lithuanian media and she often gets media coverage. The issues of the appointment of the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy or possible scenarios of the further EU integration also do not receive attention.




[1] Lithuanian government: G. Kirkilas: Lietuva nori stiprios, solidarios ir vieningos Europos Sąjungos (G. Kirkilas: “Lithuania wants a strong, solidary and united Europe”), press release, 22 May 2008, available at: http://www.lrvk.lt/main.php?id=aktualijos_su_video/p.php&n=6237 (last access: 25 January 2009).


[2] Committee on European Affairs of the Lithuanian parliament: Europos reikalų komitetas pritarė Lietuvos Respublikos pozicijoms vykstant į Europos Vadovų Tarybos posėdį (Committee on European Affairs has approved the Lithuanian position for the European Council meeting), press release, 8 December 2008, available at: http://www3.lrs.lt/pls/inter/w5_show?p_r=4463&p_k=1&p_d=81730 (last access: 25 January 2009).


[3] Bernardinai (news portal): Europos Parlamento rinkimai vyks birželio 7d. (European Parliament elections will be held on the 7th of May), 2 December 2008, available at: http://www.bernardinai.lt/index.php?url=articles%2F88444 (last access: 25 January 2009).


[4] Lietuvos socialdemokratų partija (Lithuanian Socialdemocratic party): Aloyzas Sakalas. Lietuvoje partijos dar nesirengia Europos Parlamento rinkimams (Aloyzas Sakalas. Lithuanian parties still do not prepare for the European Parliament elections), 24 November 2008, available at: http://www.lsdp.lt/lt/index.php/straipsniai-ir-komentarai/interview/90-i... (last access: 25 January 2009).


[5] Tėvynės Sąjunga – Lietuvos krikščionys demokratai.


[6] See: Kubiliaus favoritai rinkimuose – D. Grybauskaitė ir dabartiniai europarlamentarai (Favourites of Kubilius for the elections – D. Grybauskaitė and the current European Parliament members), 24 January 2009, available at: http://www.ve.lt/?data=2009-01-24&rub=1065924810&id=1232824411 (last access: 25 January 2009).


[7] See: Europos Parlamento rinkimuose ketina balsuoti pusė Lietuvos gyventojų (Half of Lithuanian inhabitants intend to vote during European Parliament elections), 7 October 2008, available at: http://www.zebra.lt/lt/aktualijos/lietuvoje/Europos-Parlamento-rinkimuos... (last access: 25 January 2009).


[8] See: Europos Parlamento rinkimai ateina į Lietuvą antrą kartą (European Parliament elections come to Lithuania for the second time), 19 December 2008, available at: http://www.paleckis.lt/Default.aspx?Lang=LT&Element=ViewArticle&TopicID=... (last access: 25 January 2009).