C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000276
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/18/2019
TAGS: PGOV LH
SUBJECT: EU COMMISSIONER GRYBAUSKAITE EASILY WINS
REF: A. VILNIUS 273
Â¶B. VILNIUS 254
Classified By: Ambassador John A. Cloud for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
Â¶1. (U) Dalia Grybauskaite, the EU Commissioner for Financial
Programming and Budget, trounced six opponents to win
Lithuania's presidential election with a large majority in
the first round of voting May 17. According to initial
figures, Grybauskaite received 69 percent of votes cast. Her
nearest rival had less than 12 percent. She will be
inaugurated July 12 in Vilnius. Grybauskaite, a former
Lithuanian Finance Minister who has been living in Brussels
for the past five years, has said her top priorities will be
domestic issues, especially economic ones.
Â¶2. (U) At a press conference the morning after her election,
Grybauskaite was peppered with questions about the economy,
politics and other domestic issues, but received few
questions about foreign policy. She said she would "balance"
Lithuania's foreign policy by placing "more focus on the
Western countries, especially our European partner states,"
than on Russia and other former Soviet states. But she also
said that Lithuania had an important role to play in helping
countries such as Georgia and Ukraine gain entry to NATO and
the European Union if they wished.
Â¶3. (U) Grybauskaite said at her press conference that she did
not plan to make major changes to the government, although
she said she wanted to talk with the ministers of Economy,
Energy, Finance, Health and Social Services before deciding
whether any of them should be replaced. She has expressed
confidence in Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, who supported
her presidential bid.
Â¶4. (C) Comment: Several senior interlocutors have told us
they do not expect Grybauskaite to change the GOL's strong
support for NATO, despite her years on the European
Commission. Grybauskaite has publicly supported Lithuania,s
deployment to Afghanistan. Nevertheless, supporters of the
president-elect, have confessed they are unsure of how
Grybauskaite will balance NATO/EU issues. We will be in
contact with the new president and her advisors, as soon as
they are named, to ensure that Lithuania continues to value
our bilateral relationship.