Foreign Affairs Vice-Minister Vytautas Leškevičius highlighted the importance of cooperation with local and regional government at the EU Committee of the Regions presentation

05 July 2013, Last updated at, 10:35 EEST
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On Thursday, Foreign Affairs Vice-Minister Vytautas Leškevičius presented the priorities of the Lithuanian Presidency at the plenary session of the EU Committee of the Regions, highlighting the importance of cooperation with local and regional government.

"Developing a reliable, growing and open Europe, civic activity and confidence in Europe are the keys to success," said the Vice-Minister, adding that he was pleased that the Year of Citizens announced in 2013 would gain attention at the international conference on 12–13 December in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Speaking about the EU policies relevant to the Committee of the Regions, as one of the most important challenges the Vice-Minister named Lithuania's responsibility during the Presidency to find agreement on legislation implementing the EU 2014–2020 budget.

"It is necessary to create a legal basis for use of the new EU budget from its inception, 1 January 2014," he stressed.
The economic success of regions, according to him, depends on the elaboration of the EU common internal market, thus it is necessary to create well-functioning internal energy, digital and service markets.

In the opinion of the Foreign Affairs Vice-Minister, energy is undoubtedly an important issue of the Lithuanian Presidency, and is particularly sensitive for regions separated from European energy networks.

"We will strive to implement the EU’s commitment for the completion of the internal energy market by 2014, and eliminate by 2015 the issue of energy isolation that is important to some Member States," he added.

According to him, during the Presidency Lithuania will focus on the implementation of macro-regional strategies. Such strategies are one of the growth instruments that can provide additional impetus to internal market development, while enhancing competitiveness and improving the environmental situation. Environmental aspects will also be addressed at the 4th Annual Forum for EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region in November at which representatives of the Committee of the Regions will present their insights regarding implementation of this strategy.

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