Dombrovskis, Kallas and Landsbergis tipped as Baltic states’ European commissioners

Dombrovskis, Kallas and Landsbergis tipped as Baltic states’ European commissioners
Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovski could be the longest serving commissioner if renominated for a third consecutive term. / European Commission.
By `Linas Jegelevicius in Vilnius June 11, 2024

The Latvian government on June 11 nominated Valdis Dombrovskis (New Unity party) for the post of European commissioner,, the website of Latvia’s national broadcaster LSM, reported.

Lithuania and Estonia have not yet made a decision on their commissioners, however, it is widely reported that Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas will  herself be the country's candidate, and that Gabrielius Landsbergis, Lithuania’s foreign minister, will also be sent to Brussels. This would continue the Baltic states' tradition of sending top-level representatives to Brussels.

Kallas has been in the frame for the post of Nato secretary-general, and she is also regarded as a good fit as EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, or for the mooted new post of defence commissioner.

She would be the nominee of the liberal Reform Europe group – which is likely to fall to being the fourth largest in the European Parliament after the dust has settled – but she might face opposition for being too "hawkish" on Russia. 

Kallas' popularity in Estonia has suffered both from the country's recession over the past year and a half, and from the revelation that her husband's company continued to do business in Russia, despite the government's hawkish stance on sanctioning the Russian regime.  

She has fought off calls to resign but a top European job would allow a graceful exit from domestic politics. After initially batting off speculation about a move to Brussels, she has become bolder in her hints that she could move.

Estonia’s former PM and now MEP Andrus Ansip has said that Kallas will take any European commissioner post she can get, and the Reform Party will have a new leader and Estonia a new head of government by the end of summer.

For Lithuania, Landsbergis would also be a candidate for the same two posts. However, he could face opposition from the country’s president-elect, Gitanas Nauseda, with whom he has had a long-running feud over who is top dog in running the country's foreign policy.

Former premier Dombrovskis is Commissioner for International Trade and the vice-president responsible for the economy in the current Commission.

Dombrovskis got the most personal votes in the European Parliament elections just held in Latvia. His list, New Unity, also received the most votes, 25.07%.

"We believe that his track record in Europe and his ability to influence the process, both in terms of his international experience and his recognition within the European institutions, is really important. We also discussed in the coalition that Valdis Dombrovskis could be nominated as European Commissioner," said Evika Silina, Latvia's Prime Minister.

According to the premier, Dombrovskis should be nominated as soon as possible, but before a decision is taken on Wednesday, Dombrovskis is scheduled to meet with coalition members.

If he served out another full term as commissioner, Dombrovskis would be one of the longest serving commissioners. He already holds the record as the longest serving Latvian premier, reported.