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Dalia Grybauskaitė


Incumbent
Assumed office 
12 July 2009
Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius
Preceded by Valdas Adamkus

In office
22 November 2004 – 1 July 2009
President José Manuel Barroso
Preceded by Marcos Kyprianou (Budget)
Succeeded by Algirdas Šemeta

In office
1 May 2004 – 11 November 2004
Serving with Viviane Reding
President Romano Prodi
Preceded by Viviane Reding
Succeeded by Ján Figeľ (as Education, Training and Culture)

Born 1 March 1956 (1956-03-01) (age 53)
Vilnius, Lithuanian SSR, Soviet Union
Alma mater Zhdanov University
Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
Profession Political economist
Signature

Dalia Grybauskaitė (pronounced [ˈdaːlʲæ gʲrʲiːbɒʊsˈkaɪtʲeː], born 1 March 1956) is a Lithuanian politician and the current President of Lithuania inaugurated on July 12, 2009. She was previously Lithuania's Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Finance Minister, and European Commissioner for Financial Programming & the Budget. Often referred to as the "Iron Lady", Grybauskaitė is Lithuania's first female head of state.

Contents

Early years

Dalia Grybauskaitė was born on 1 March 1956 into a working-class family in Vilnius. Her mother, Vitalija Korsakaitė (1922-1989), born in the Biržai region, worked as a saleswoman; her father, Polikarpas Grybauskas (1928-2008) worked as an electrician and as a driver. Grybauskaitė attended Salomėja Nėris High School. She has described herself as not among the best of students, receiving mostly fours in a system where five was the highest grade. Her favorite subjects were history, geography and physics.[1]

She began participating in sports at the age of eleven, and became a passionate basketball player.[1] At the age of nineteen she worked for a year at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic as staff inspector. She then enrolled in Saint Petersburg State University, then known as Zhdanov University, as a student of political economy.[2] At the same time she began working in a local factory. In 1983 Grybauskaitė graduated with a citation and returned to Vilnius, taking a secretarial position at the Academy of Sciences. Work in the Academy was scarce, however, and she moved to the Vilnius Party High School, where she lectured in political economy and global finance.[2] In 1988 she defended her Ph.D thesis at Moscow's Academy of Social Sciences of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (now the Russian Academy of State Service).

In 1990, soon after Lithuania re-established its independence from the Soviet Union, Grybauskaitė continued her studies at the Georgetown University (Washington DC) School of Foreign Service in the Special Program for senior executives.[3]

Early career

Between 1991 and 1993 Grybauskaitė worked as Director of the European Department at the Ministry of International Economic Relations of the Republic of Lithuania. During 1993 she was employed in the Foreign Ministry as director of the Economic Relations Department, and represented Lithuania when it entered the European Union Free Trade Agreement. She also chaired the Aid Coordination Committee (PHARE and the G-24). Soon afterwords she was named Extraordinary Envoy and Plenipotentiary Minister at the Lithuanian Mission to the EU.[3] There she worked as the deputy chief negotiator for the EU Europe Agreement and as a representative of the National Aid Co-ordination in Brussels.

In 1996 Grybauskaitė was appointed Plenipotentiary Minister in the United States's Lithuanian embassy. She held this position until 1999, when she was appointed deputy Minister of Finance. As part of this role, she led Lithuanian negotiations with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. In 2000, Grybauskaitė became Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, going on in 2001 to become Minister of Finance in the Algirdas Brazauskas government. Lithuania joined the European Union on 1 May 2004, and Grybauskaitė was named a European Commissioner on the same day.[2]

European Commission

Grybauskaitė initially served as European Commissioner for Education and Culture. She held this position until 11 November 2004, when she was named European Commissioner for Financial Programming and the Budget within the José Manuel Barroso-led Commission.

In November 2005 Dalia Grybauskaitė was named "Commissioner of the Year" in the European Voice Europeans of the Year poll. She was nominated "for her unrelenting efforts to shift EU spending towards areas that would enhance competitiveness such as research and development." She commented:[4]

I don't usually participate in contests, so this is a very pleasant surprise for me. I consider it a distinction not for me personally, but for all the new EU Member States, both small and large, as an acknowledgment of their bringing a new and fresh perspective to the EU. I think that it’s also a prize for having the courage to speak the often difficult truth and to point out the real price of political rhetoric in Europe. As for results, we still have to wait for them. An agreement on the budget for 2007–2013, which Europe really needs, is most important.

As Financial and Budget Commissioner, she strongly criticized the EU budget, stating it was "...not a budget for the 21st century."[5] The majority of the EU budget was spent on agricultural programs. Grybauskaitė presented a 2008 EU budget in which, for the first time in its history, spending on growth and employment constituted the highest share of the budget, exceeding that of agriculture and natural resources.[6] She frequently criticized the Lithuanian Government, headed by Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas, for its lack of response to the approaching financial crisis.[7]

2009 presidential elections

"The taste of victory is the burden of responsibility."

on being the first woman elected President of Lithuania[8]

On 26 February 2009, Grybauskaitė officially announced her candidacy for the 2009 presidential election. In her declaration speech, she said:

I decided to return to Lithuania if the Lithuanian people decide I am needed there now. I think that we all long for the truth, transparency and responsibility for our country. We all want to live without fear, with confidence in ourselves, in each other, and in tomorrow.

I can and I want to contribute with my experience, knowledge and skills to expel shadows from morality, politics, and economics to create a citizen-ruled Lithuania - a state of citizens. Therefore, I will run for the Lithuanian presidency.[9]

Dalia Grybauskaitė giving an interview during Presidential elections, 2009

Opinion polls taken in February 2009 showed that Grybauskaitė was the undisputed leader in the race.[10] She ran as an independent, although she was supported by the dominant Conservative Party as well as by NGOs, including Sąjūdis.[11][12]

Her campaign was primarily focused on domestic issues. After years of strong economic growth, Lithuania faced a deep recession with double-digit declines in economic indicators. The unemployment rate rose to 15.5% in March, and a January street protest against the government's response to the recession turned violent.[13] During the campaign, Grybauskaitė stressed the need to combat the financial troubles by protecting those with the lowest incomes, simplifying the Lithuanian bureaucratic apparatus, and reviewing the government's investment program.[14] She also promised a more balanced approach in conducting foreign policy, the primary constitutional role of the Lithuanian presidency.

Dalia Grybauskaitė celebrating landslide victory

The election was held on 17 May 2009. Dalia Grybauskaitė won in a landslide, receiving 68.18% of the vote.[15] The 51.6% turnout was just above the threshold needed to avoid a runoff election.[16] In winning the election, Grybauskaitė became not only the first female president of Lithuania, but won by the largest margin recorded in presidential elections.[17]

Political analysts attributed the easy victory to Grybauskaitė's financial competence and her ability to avoid domestic scandals.[16] The international press was quick to dub her the "Lithuanian Iron Lady" for her outspoken speech and her black belt in karate.[18][19] Grybauskaitė, who speaks Lithuanian, English, Russian, French and Polish,[18] has mentioned Margaret Thatcher and Mahatma Gandhi as her political role models.[20]

Presidency 2009 –

Dalia Grybauskaite inaugurating Lithuanian army commander Arvydas Pocius

Grybauskaitė assumed presidential duties on 12 July 2009. She accepted half of her presidential salary (312,000 litas) as well.[13] Her first presidential visits abroad were made to Sweden and Latvia.[21]

Awards

Dalia Grybauskaitė has received the following awards:

Year Award Issuer
2003 The Commander's Cross of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas Lithuania
2009 The Order of Vytautas the Great with the Golden Chain Lithuania

References

  1. ^ a b Jablonskaitė, Dovilė (2009-03-07). "Mąslių akių mergaitė" (in Lithuanian). Klaipėda diena. http://klaipeda.diena.lt/dienrastis/lietuva/masliu-akiu-mergaite-205469. Retrieved 2009-05-18.  
  2. ^ a b c Grybauskaitė, Dalia. "Apie Mane" (in Lithuanian). http://www.grybauskaite2009.lt/apie-mane. Retrieved 2009-05-20.  
  3. ^ a b "Curriculum Vitae of Dr. Dalia Grybauskaitė". European Commission. http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/grybauskaite/profile/profile_en.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-18.  
  4. ^ "Dalia Grybauskaitė News 2005". European Commission. 2005-11-29. http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/grybauskaite/news/news2005_en.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-20.  
  5. ^ "Grybauskaite: "Today's budget is not a budget for the 21st century"". 1 August 2005. http://www.euractiv.com/en/future-eu/grybauskaite-today-budget-budget-21st-century/article-143148. Retrieved 2009-05-18.  
  6. ^ "The 2008 EC Budget". European Union Committee. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200607/ldselect/ldeucom/160/160.pdf. Retrieved 2009-05-19.  
  7. ^ "D.Grybauskaitė: kritika Lietuvai - oficiali EK nuomonė". Delfi.lt. 2008-06-25. http://www.delfi.lt/archive/article.php?id=17508844. Retrieved 2009-05-19.  
  8. ^ Verbatim, June 1, 2009. Page 19, Time Magazine.
  9. ^ "D. Grybauskaitė sieks prezidento posto" (in Lithuanian). Lithuanian National Radio and Television. 2009-02-26. http://www.lrt.lt/news.php?strid=5082&id=5144260. Retrieved 2009-05-20. "Aš apsisprendžiau, kad sutinku grįžti į ietuvą, jei Lietuvos žmonės nuspręs, kad esu reikalinga dabar Lietuvoje. Manau, kad visi esame pasiilgę tiesos, skaidrumo ir atsakomybės už savo šalį. Norime visi gyventi be baimės, pasitikėdami savimi, vienas kitu ir rytojumi. Galiu ir noriu skirti savo patirtį, žinias bei gebėjimus tam, kad išguitume šešėlius iš moralės, politikos, ekonomikos ir sukurtume tokią piliečių Lietuvą, piliečių valstybę. Todėl dalyvausiu Lietuvos prezidento rinkimuose."  
  10. ^ "Po D.Grybauskaitės apsisprendimo politologai nemato jai konkurencijos" (in Lithuanian). Lietuvos rytas. 2009-02-26. http://www.lrytas.lt/-12356547131233500311-1-po-d-grybauskait%C4%97s-apsisprendimo-politologai-nemato-jai-konkurencijos-video.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-20.  
  11. ^ "Lithuanians vote in female president". Deutsche Welle. 2009-05-18. http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,4260641,00.html?maca=en-aa-top-861-rdf. Retrieved 2009-05-20.  
  12. ^ "Lietuvos Sąjūdis nusprendė paremti D.Grybauskaitę" (in Lithuanian). Klaipėda diena. 2009-05-14. http://klaipeda.diena.lt/rinkimai2009/naujienos/lietuvos-sajudis-nusprende-paremti-d-grybauskaite-217801. Retrieved 2009-05-20.  
  13. ^ a b "Lithuania president-elect vows to fight recession". Associated Press, reprinted by CBC News. 2009-05-18. http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/05/18/lithuania-election-grybauskaite-president233.html. Retrieved 2009-05-20.  
  14. ^ "Grybauskaitė: reikia taupyti biurokratų, o ne paprastų žmonių sąskaita" (in Lithuanian). Alfa.lt. 2009-01-29. http://www.alfa.lt/straipsnis/10257011. Retrieved 2009-05-20.  
  15. ^ "2009 m. gegužės 17 d. Respublikos Prezidento rinkimai" (in Lithuanian). Election Commssion of the Republic of Lithuania. 2009-05-20. http://www.vrk.lt/2009_prezidento_rinkimai/output_lt/rezultatai_vienmand_apygardose/rezultatai_vienmand_apygardose1turas.html. Retrieved 2009-05-20.  
  16. ^ a b "Lithuania gets first woman leader". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8054053.stm. Retrieved 2009-05-19.  
  17. ^ "Šampanas iššautas: D.Grybauskaitė be didesnės konkurencijos išrinkta Lietuvos prezidente" (in Lithuanian). Lietuvos rytas. 2009-05-20. http://www.lrytas.lt/-12425863441240722992-%C5%A1ampanas-i%C5%A1%C5%A1autas-d-grybauskait%C4%97-be-didesn%C4%97s-konkurencijos-i%C5%A1rinkta-lietuvos-prezidente-atnaujinta-pateikta-rezultat%C5%B3-lentel%C4%97-8-video-nuotraukos.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-20.  
  18. ^ a b "Dalia Grybauskaite: Lithuania’s ‘Iron Lady’". Khaleej Times Online. http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayarticleNew.asp?section=newsmakers&xfile=data/newsmakers/2009/May/newsmakers_May29.xml. Retrieved 2009-05-19.  
  19. ^ "D. Grybauskaitę vadina Lietuvos „geležine ledi“". Lithuanian National Radio and Television. http://www.lrt.lt/subsite/subnews.php?strid=5164794&id=5205884. Retrieved 2009-05-19.  
  20. ^ "Lithuania elects first female president". ABC News (Australia). 2009-05-18. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/05/18/2573454.htm?section=justin. Retrieved 2009-05-20.  
  21. ^ Premjeras prezidentės pirmojo vizito į Švediją nelaiko posūkiu užsienio politikoje. Retrieved on 2009-10-07

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Viviane Reding
European Commissioner for Education and Culture
2004
Served alongside: Viviane Reding
Succeeded by
Ján Figeľ
as European Commissioner for Education, Training and Culture
Preceded by
Michaele Schreyer
as European Commissioner for the Budget
European Commissioner for Financial Programming and the Budget
2004–2009
Succeeded by
Algirdas Šemeta
Preceded by
Position established
Lithuanian European Commissioner
2004–2009
Preceded by
Valdas Adamkus
President of Lithuania
2009–present
Incumbent








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