Five key highlights of Lithuanian president’s State of Nation Address

President Dalia Grybauskaitė makes her annual State of the Nation Address
DELFI / Domantas Pipas

Here are the five key highlights of her speech:

1. Support for the party system

The president slammed “the direct merger of politics with business and its long dependence on financial supporters”, but at the same time said that political parties remain “the most reliable foundation for the democratic development of a country.

Grybauskaitė urged political parties to overcome “inner antagonism, smearing and discrediting” and “accumulation of power in top ranks” and rely more on ordinary members, their ideology and shared values.

2. More attention to agriculture

Grybauskaitė this year paid more attention to the situation in agriculture, compared with her previous annual speeches. While the president did not directly mention the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LVŽS) and its leader Ramūnas Karbauskis, she said that “the concentration of land in one pair of hands, business in stocks and bills of exchange, uncontrolled acquisition of land, non-transparent allocation of EU funds, fictional farms, and ‘sofa farmers’ have led to disarray, anarchy and a distorted market”. She called on politicians to decide on an agricultural policy and rural development strategy.

3. Criticism of the Seimas

The president criticized the political agenda of the Seimas, saying that “selective parliamentary control and the upsurge of various commissions only add to the feeling of unfairness across Lithuania”. She called on lawmakers to focus more on social exclusion, emigration, the country’s competitiveness, children’s literacy, preparations for a dual citizenship referendum and the use of EU funds.

4. Support for EU integration

Grybauskaitė said that Lithuania must be at the forefront of EU integration, noting that ” we will be strong only if we join our efforts in military, energy, cyber and economic security”. She also warned about growing tensions between the US and EU, saying that “the threat of trade wars, lack of agreement on security issues, increasing rhetoric on both sides of the Atlantic, and disregard for international agreements have made the geopolitical situation around us vague”.

5. Praises to law-enforcement and civic activists

The president said described “legal and civil resistance” as the best response to non-transparent politics. Grybauskaitė praised law-enforcement bodies for becoming more independent and mastering new legal instruments in the fight against corruption. She called three political corruption cases “historical” and said that the revival of public trust in courts sets an example for the party system. The president underlined that “civil resistance movements” are needed “wherever self-will sets in”.

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