Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, former European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety (2014 – 2019) and current WHO Special Envoy for the European Region and Member of the Political Advisory Panel of the UHC 2030 Movement, was appointed Chair of All Policies for a Healthy Europe on 26th April 2022.
Born in Siberia on 9th August 1951 while his parents were deported under the Soviet regime, he moved back to Lithuania in 1957. In the late 1960s, he began his political activity in pro-independence movements, being frequently harassed by the KGB.
In 1975 Andriukaitis began his career in the medical field during which he was continually subjected to pressure and scrutiny by soviet authorities due to his involvement in the underground political resistance movement. After graduating in general, war, abdominal, trauma, and orthopaedic surgery, he was first promoted to surgeon and then appointed cardiac surgeon in Vilnius. In 1987, he qualified in cardiac and vascular surgery at the Bakulev Cardiovascular Institute in Moscow and in the same year took part in the first heart transplantation in Lithuanian medical history. Andriukaitis practised medicine until 1993, when the new Lithuanian Constitution banned Members of Parliament from participating in other extra-parliamentary activities.
During the 1990s, he was co-author and one of the signatories of the Independence Act of Lithuania, as well as co-author of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania adopted in 1992. Andriukaitis is also one of the founders of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party and he currently holds the position of honorable Chairman of LSDP. He was a Member of the Lithuanian Parliament for six terms, from 1990 to 2004 and from 2008 to 2012. During those years he was also Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs, including during the accession to the EU in 2004.
As Commissioner for Health and Food Safety from 2014 to 2019, Andriukaitis advocated for health to be included at all levels of EU policy-making. During his mandate, he led the work on the State of Health in the EU, the two-year cycle put in place to monitor the status of health and health systems in the EU, and called on DG SANTE to improve health systems, knowledge and capacity to assess the state of health and health reforms in Member States. With the help of the OECD and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, Andriukaitis was able to develop constructive and significant recommendations for the European Semester process to help improve access to prevention and healthcare, but also draw the attention of other DGs to the importance of health for the economy in general.
Andriukaitis is the author of multiple articles and books, more than 140 legislative proposals and amendments on national and the EU level.