At the Presidential Palace – introduction to Lithuania’s Presidency of EU Council

13 Jun 2013, Last updated at, 15:30 EEST
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author: Dž. G. Barysaitė

With one month left until Lithuania's Presidency of the Council of the European Union, President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and members of the EP Conference of Presidents - the body responsible for taking strategic decisions - to whom she introduced the Lithuanian Government and presented the main tasks of Lithuania's Presidency of the EU Council.

"We can call this day an introduction to the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council and the beginning of actual work. The first steps are essential to ensuring smooth decision-making process. Cooperation with politically most important body of the European Parliament - the Conference of Presidents - will guarantee faster changes that are necessary for all European citizens," the President said.

The Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament consists of the President of Parliament and chairmen of all parliamentary political groups. It represents all political forces, adopts major political decisions and organizes European Parliament's work.

According to the President, Lithuania is taking over the presidency of the EU Council at a difficult time - recovery of the EU economy is still fragile, unemployment level high, and public confidence in European institutions declined.

The President pointed out that Lithuania and the EU would have to take many important decisions, first of all to reach a timely agreement with the European Parliament on the EU budget for the period 2014-2020. The EU support is crucial for economic growth of the member states; therefore, it is necessary to enable implementation of all new programmes under the multiannual financial framework from the beginning of the next year.

Naming the priorities of Lithuanian presidency, Dalia Grybauskaitė underlined that Europe must undertake rapid and effective measures to boost the EU's economic growth and reduce unemployment. At present even 26.5 million people in the EU are jobless, 6 million young people among them.

Financial discipline and reduction of budget deficit remain a guarantee of economic stability and growth, the President said. Therefore, Lithuanian presidency will seek effective implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact and the Fiscal Compact.

Building of a banking union is another important measure for financial stability. It will contribute to more effectively carrying out the supervision of banks, set up a single system for restructuring problem banks and will protect taxpayers against additional costs. Lithuania during its presidency will seek progress in developing a single mechanism for restructuring banks.

Deepening of the single market, in particular in the sphere of services, is yet another tool to promote economic growth. Measures aimed at completing the internal energy market and building the digital single market are also planned to be put into practice during Lithuania's presidency.

Lithuanian presidency will also attach great importance to the EU's external relations, the strengthening of Eastern Partnership, and to the European Union's negotiations on free trade with the United States and Japan.

President Dalia Grybauskaitė together with the President of European Parliament will attend the debate "Europe of Citizens" dedicated to the European Year of Citizens. Among the participants of the debate will be the Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding, as well as experts, diplomats, politicians, political scientists, and students.

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