Linkevičius under pressure: questioned on capacity to remain in office
A number of opposition Seimas groups with presidential candidate Ingrida Šimonytė at their head at demanding Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius to come provide an explanation on Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis’ “cunning plan” linked to Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant.
"The PM's statements raise a number of justified questions on the consistency and unity of Lithuania's foreign policy toward Belarus," a press release states.
It reminds that the Seimas statute outlines the possibility for demanding a member of cabinet to make a public statement in Seimas when such a demand is signed by no less than ten members of Seimas. This is the number of opposition representatives (from the Homeland Union, Liberal Movement, Social Democrats and mixed Seimas groups) that signed.
The minister's press representative Rasa Jakilaitienė has stated that the minister will appear in Seimas to answer the questions. It is to happen today at 14.20.
"Lithuania's foreign policy could yield long term results only when it is consistent, united and coordinated between the branches of government and is based on international law and values.
S. Skvernelis' "cunning plan", based on which he is offering to transform the Astravyets power plant to a gas powered one, regardless of how it is technically especially difficult and expensive, would appear to have been neither discussed, nor coordinated. Such a situation raises major risk to Lithuania's reputation and the foreign policy it leads. As such, we invite Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius to thoroughly explain the circumstances of this position by the prime minister, present an evaluation of it and explain the official position of Lithuania's foreign policy," one of the initiators I. Šimonytė stated.
The group of MPs are asking the minister whether S. Skvernelis' proposals over Astravyets NPP were coordinated with other state institutions and if so – what the PM and Foreign Ministry's position is, whether this position was coordinated with the president and partners in the EU.
The minister is also being inquired whether he is aware about the official (or unofficial) positions of Lithuanian state officials' discussions and proposals on potentially changing Lithuania's position on the EU-Belarus partnership agreement.
The members of Seimas believe that such a proposal, both technically and politically, looks weak and could greatly harm Lithuania's international reputation, especially in strategic questions linked to Astravyets, prevent Lithuania's efforts to date to form an EU coalition to not purchase electricity from the unsafe nuclear power plant and ask, who will take responsibility for the consequences of such reputational and diplomatic harm?
"Do you not believe that in Lithuania there cannot be a separate, uncoordinated with the foreign minister and president, execution of foreign policy and do you not intend to withdraw from the office of minister of foreign affairs over the clashing positions you and the prime minister hold over one of the most important foreign policy questions for Lithuania?" the group of MPs ask the minister.
The demand for answers was signed by I. Šimonytė, Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Julius Sabatauskas, Bronislovas Matelis, Eugenijus Gentvilas, Jurgis Razma, Žygimantas Pavilionis, Andrius Kupčinskas, Sergejus Jovaiša and Andrius Navickas.