"I'm already involved in this work. I've made my first trips to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. I'll hold the position of the WHO special envoy for the European region," Andriukaitis told BNS.

He expects to formally take office on March 1.

However, the Lithuanian Social Democratic politician, whose term as the European commissioner for health and food safety ended last December, has yet to obtain a conflict-of-interest clearance from the European Commission.

Andriukaitis' office will be based in Copenhagen and will be in charge of 53 European states.