Portraits of the Ambassadors. Arūnas Vinčiūnas: the presidency is when a new EU state finally grows up

27 Jun 2013, Last updated at, 07:48 EEST
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Arūnas Vinčiūnas, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Lithuania in the EU

Arūnas Vinčiūnas, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Lithuania in the European Union, represents Lithuania in the Committee COREPER I (Fr. Comité des représentants permanents) of the Deputy Permanent Representatives of the European Union in Brussels. During his almost four years in the representatives, he has managed not only to find home in rainy Brussels, but also to win favour from his Lithuanian and international colleagues. This diplomat is characterised by the professional qualities, sharp mind and professional discipline that he always follows at work.

After Lithuania gained its independence and started looking for young specialists, Arūnas Vinčiūnas soon found his place in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania: firstly in the Department of Economic Analysis, and subsequently in the Department of Eastern Europe and Middle Asia he led the Department of Eastern Neighbourhood Policy. He worked at the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Latvia and Spain. In 2008, he was appointed the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Bulgaria, which was the country’s first year in the European Union. From the autumn of 2009 he continued his services at Lithuania’s permanent representatives in Brussels, at first as Lithuania’s representative in the Political and Security Committee, and after a year as Lithuania’s representative in the Committee of the Deputy Permanent Representatives (COREPER I).

A typical work day of the 46-year-old ambassador is long and full of challenges. Sessions of the COREPER I Committee, preparation and participation in sessions of the Council of the EU that are visited by Ministers from Lithuania, coordination of approaches, meetings with special Attachés, consultations and negotiations with representatives from EU institutions – the European Committee, and the European Parliament. Diplomat and study visits represent only a small part of daily tasks for Arūnas Vinčiūnas, and those tasks will grow significantly when Lithuania begins its presidency of the Council of the EU. He is looking forward to the 4th of July, when he will assume the chair of the President and lead the first session of COREPER I.

Although the ambassador says he never counts his working hours, time for his favourite leisure activities, such as nature walks and football, will be increasingly precious during this period of utmost responsibility.

“The Presidency of the Council of the EU represents when conditionally a new member of the European Union, such as Lithuania, finally grows up,” says Ambassador Vinčiūnas.

He considers that this is also a good lesson for the State Council of Lithuania, in that it helps to understand that decisions are not simply “dropped” from Brussels, and that adequate representation of Lithuania’s interests in the European Union is in the power of the State Council of Lithuania. “And for Lithuania, it is a perfect promotional invitation to get to know our country better,” he added.

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