About

Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis (also Vytenis Andriukaitis) was born 9 August 1951 at Kyusyur, Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. He is a Lithuanian physician (heart surgeon), politician, and co-signatory to the 1990 Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania.

Andriukaitis’ family was deported to Siberia in June 1941. He, his mother and two older brothers were allowed to return to Lithuania in 1957; his father returned in 1958. After excelling at school, he enrolled at Kaunas Medical Institute, graduating in 1975. In 1976 Andriukaitis started in politics as a member of the underground Social Democrat movement, but continued his studies later taking a degree in History at Vilnius University in 1984.

Dr Andriukaitis was elected to the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania in 1990. He served in the Seimas from 1992 to 2004 and from 2008 to 2012, and was Deputy Chairman of its Council from 2001 to 2004. He was The Health Minister of the Republic of Lithuania since 2012 December till Jean-Claude Juncker has appointed him to serve as a EU Commissioner in November 2014.

Early Life

Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis was born in Kyusyur, Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, USSR. His father, Alfonsas Andriukaitis and mother Liuda Andriukaitiene, pregnant at the time, together with two toddlers were deported from Lithuania to Siberia by Soviet Communists in June 1941. They only had access to Russian literature; he learned Lithuanian language from his mother who would write down Lithuanian fairy tales in the notebooks that he would read.

In 1954, family received the permission to relocate from the Island to Olyokminsk in continental USSR. In 1957, they were allowed to return to Lithuania, after his mother was awarded a medal of honour for raising 5 children. Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis moved to Kaunas, Lithuania with his mother and two brothers – Antanas and Petras, later joined by their father Alfonsas in 1958. His older brothers were serving in the USSR Army – Sarunas in Kaliningrad, USSR and Remigijus in Vladivostok, USSR.  

Vytenis Andriukaitis excelled at school and was awarded a gold medal upon his graduation from Kaunas Middle School in 1969. It was uncommon to be awarded a medal of achievement without being a member of „komjaunuoliai“ (Young Communists). Right after graduation, he enrolled at Kaunas Medicine Institute graduating in 1975. He later continued his studies taking a degree in History at Vilnius University, graduating in 1984. During his student years, he did not join the Communist party and was a member of the underground Social Democrat movement for independent Lithuania.

Career

Medical Career

In 1975 Andriukaitis started his medical internship in Kaunas Third Hospital. Following internship, he was denied freedom to choose the hospital for residency by security services due to his anti-communist political involvement. He was offered to go to Ignalina, where Andriukaitis spent eight years at Ignalina Central Hospital. He was under continuous pressure from the government, due to his involvement in underground political resistance movement. Whilst in Ignalina, in 1979 he qualified in general surgery at the University of Vilnius; in 1980 he qualified in war surgery at Riga Military Hospital, in 1982 in abdominal surgery and in 1983 in trauma and orthopaedics surgery both at Vilnius University. After being promoted to surgeon in 1983, and due to demand for cardio-surgeons in Vilnius, Andriukaitis was able to relocate from Ignalina to Vilnius and was appointed cardiac surgeon of Heart Surgery Centre at Republican Clinical hospital in Vilnius, Lithuania. In 1987 he qualified in heart and vascular surgery at Moscow Bakulev Cardiovascular Institute and in the same year he was took part in the first heart transplant in history of Lithuania. In 1989 Andriukaitis was appointed cardiovascular surgeon and became a member of Lithuanian Doctor’s Association (until 1996) and Lithuanian Heart Association. He was also a member of International Doctors’ Association during 1998-2004. Andriukaitis practiced medicine until 1993, when new constitutional laws forbade Members of Parliament to take part in other non-parliamentary activities. 

Political Career

Andriukaitis was an active participant in the anti-Soviet underground movement. In 1976 Andriukaitis started in politics as a member of the underground Social Democrat movement, participating in many activities in this circle. He was a founder and a student of the underground Antanas Strazdelis Humanitarian Thought and Self-Education University (1975-1982).  A university denied dictatorship, Nazism, fascism, autocratic regimes or nationalism and united students placing value on democracy, pluralism, multi-party politics, freedom of ideas, philosophy and religion and its diversity.

In 1976 Andriukaitis was arrested and questioned by the KGB, also arrested and punished three-year compulsory registration of Ignalina by Soviet Government, then controlled by the local KGB office.

During 1988-1989 Andriukaitis actively supported the restoration of the LSDP (Social Democratic Party of Lithuania). As a deputy chairman of LSDP, he pioneered the re-establishment of its steering group, was also a member of the Lithuanian Reform Movement and participated in the preparation and legalisation of LSDP Lithuanian Movement for elections to the Lithuanian LTSR AT programs (Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, The Supreme Council). During this period he was a member of the working group on LTSR concept of self-sufficiency training (social security, health care reform and public administration). 

In 1990 Andriukaitis was elected Supreme Soviet Deputy for Lithuanian Republic which he held until 1992. He was also a member of Committee of Health and Social Affairs, Chairman of Health Subcommittee, member of Working Group which prepared the 11th March Day charter in advance of the 1990 signing of the Lithuanian Act of Independence. He was also a member of Working Group of National Science and the National Health Concept Development during these years. 

In 1990 he became a Delegation Member in the Baltic Assembly at the Republic of Lithuanian Parliament, the position he held until 2004.  

Vytenis Andriukaitis was one of the authors of Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, which was adopted in 1992.

In 1992, Andriukaitis became a Member of Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania, Vice-Chairman of Health and Social Affairs Committee, the Elders’ Deputy of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party Group, and a member of the National Security Concept Development Working Group. In 1996, he was re-elected as a Member of Parliament where he was remained a member of the Assembly of Elders and of the State and Local Government Committee, Polish Parliamentary Assembly and as an Elder of LSDP group.  

Andriukaitis was a candidate for President of the Republic of Lithuania in 1997, and also in 2002.

In 1999 Andriukaitis was elected as LSDP chairman, serving two years. 

In 2000, Andriukaitis was elected for his third term as a Member of Parliament of Lithuania and continued as a member of the Assembly of Elders and joined Parliamentary Council. In October 2000, he was an Opposition Leader in Parliament. In 2001 he became Deputy Chairman of Parliament, responsible for the coordination of parliamentary committees as well as for Parliament and the European Integration program, including the planning and management of human and financial resources, Chairman of the European Affairs Committee, a member of Foreign Affairs Committee and Legal Affairs, NATO Commission, and later a replacement member on the Commission on the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania. 

In 2002, Andriukaitis found Lithuanian Forum on the Future. He also became a member of Convention on the Future of Europe and leader of the Lithuanian delegation.

In 2004 July 28th, Andriukaitis resigned his parliamentary seat after the Parliament refused to revoke the immunity of unjustified allegations of corruption; he decided not to hinder the law enforcement authorities in carrying out an investigation in order to clear his name. Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office terminated the pre-trial investigation once the allegations proved to be an unfounded smear. On September 6th, 2005 Andriukaitis won legal proceedings against the former Attorney General of the Republic of Lithuania on the honour and dignity when the defendant publicly apologized for his words of debate on family materials on the allegations. The case precipitated the peace treaty. 

Andriukaitis was elected for his fourth term in 2008 and was appointed Deputy Chairman of Lithuanian Parliament on the Republic Committee on European Affairs; he remained a member of Foreign Affairs Committee and a Vice-Chairman of LSDP.

In 2012, Andriukaitis was appointed Lithuanian Minister of Health in the 16th Lithuanian Government.

European politics

In 1994 Andriukaitis became a Delegate in Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly for the Lithuanian Republic Parliament, also a Parliamentary Assembly Member of the Council of Europe’s Human Rights and Legal Affairs Committee. In 2001, as a Deputy Chairman of Parliament, he was responsible for the European Integration Program, including the planning and management of human and financial resources. He was also the Chairman of the European Affairs Committee.

In 2014, September 10th, Andriukaitis was appointed by Jean-Claude Juncker as the European Commissioner-designate responsible for Health and Food Safety.

Publications

  • 1990–2004 author of more than 140 legislative proposals and amendments.
  • 2002–2003 author and co-author of the indemnities of Convention on the Future of Europe.
  • 1990–2004 co-author and editor of Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania and the Parliamentary Committee on European Affairs publications: 
    • Parliament on Lithuania’s road to the European Union;
    • The role of Parliament in EU membership conditions;
    • 1997–2003 Joint Interparliamentary Committee on accession to the EU — Lithuanian activities;
    • At the International Conference “Baltic freedom: The West’s approach to 1983 January 13th European Parliament resolution “on the situation in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania,” the 20th anniversary of the material;
    • Material “International Conference on National Constitution in the context of EU enlargement”;
    • Materials, including the declaration in the international conference on “EU enlargement and the wider European vision”;
    • Debates on the future of Europe.
  • In 2006 “Social Democrats in Lithuanian Parliaments”.

Honours 

Decorations

  • Commander, Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas (2004).
  • Grand Cross, Order of Merit of Portugal (2003).
  • The Order of Légion d’Honneur of France (2015)
  • The Order of Agricultural Merit of France (2019)

Awards

  • 1996 – 1991 January 13 Commemorative Medal.
  • 2000 – Lithuanian Independence 10th Anniversary Medal.
  • 2002 Baltic Assembly Medal (for supporting Baltic unity and cooperation).
  • 2004 – Commemorative Medal of Lithuania’s accession to the European Union.
  • 2004 – Upon Lithuania’s accession to NATO: a memorable statue of “Gražina”.
  • 2004 – Honorary Fellow of the Lithuanian Law University.
  • 2005 – Honorary Badge of Doctor of Merit of Lithuania (as one of the initiators of the development of the Lithuanian national health concept and the Lithuanian legal framework for the health system).
  • 2010 – Lithuanian Restoration of Independence 20th Anniversary Medal.
  • 2012 – Constitutional Cup – nominal Constitution – for the development of the Constitution awarded by the Faculty of Law of Vilnius University on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuanian. 
  • 2013 – Commemorative Award of the President of the Republic of Lithuania for the personal contribution to the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2013.
  • 2014 – Award of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for the contribution to Lithuania’s membership in the EU and its strengthening.
  • 2014 – Vice-President of the 67th World Health Assembly nominated by the Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organisation.
  • 2014 – Award of the World Health Organisation for the merits in the area of tobacco control.