Stronger Europe through joint efforts by Presidents of Lithuania and European Council

01 July 2013, Last updated at, 08:43 EEST
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author: Dž. G. Barysaitė

President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy on the eve of Lithuania's EU Presidency. It was the first meeting between Dalia Grybauskaitė as leader of the presiding member state with the head of the European Council focusing on decisions important to the whole of Europe – decisions that required streamlined efforts by all 28 countries to be delivered promptly and efficiently.

Dalia Grybauskaitė invited Herman Van Rompuy to the official launch of Lithuania's Presidency of the Council of the European Union to be celebrated on July 5 in Vilnius.

"Lithuania is taking over the presidency at a difficult moment when immediate solutions are needed to ensure Europe's economic growth and security. People in all 28 member states first of all expect political will and agreement from European leaders on issues crucial for making the life of Europeans more secure. We are embarking on a very responsible mission – to coordinate the positions of 28 countries so that we switch from discussions to concrete actions and make Europe stronger," the President underlined during her meeting with the head of the European Council.

The President of Lithuania and the President of the European Council discussed key meetings to be held in the next six months, European Council agendas and potential decisions. The two presidents also talked about boosting Europe's economic growth and competitiveness, implementing the multiannual financial framework, establishing a banking union, reducing youth unemployment, eliminating energy islands, and advancing defense policy.

The biggest obstacle to EU economic growth and competitiveness, the President said, are high energy prices. Therefore, the creation of the EU internal energy market, the development of alternatives to expensive Russian gas supplies, the implementation of the 3rd energy package, and the eradication of energy islands are the objectives shared by all of Europe to ensure competitive prices. On November 4-5, Vilnius will host a conference on finalizing the EU internal energy market where decisions will be made on key European energy projects.

The President pointed out that Europe's economic growth and competitiveness also depended on the ability of Europeans to use modern information technologies and develop innovative business. In October, the European Council summit will focus on issues related to the creation a single digital market; in November, a special event held in Vilnius will highlight European research and innovation. The development of digital technologies and e-services can well contribute to reducing youth unemployment and expanding small and medium-sized businesses. In the age of digitization, Europe needs to agree on information and cyber security measures.

It is impossible to have a strong and credible Europe without a secure neighborhood. The November summit in Vilnius, the President said, may lead to a historic breakthrough towards more secure cooperation with Eastern Partnership countries. There are high expectations that the summit will see the signing of an association and free trade agreement with Ukraine as well as the conclusion of negotiations with Moldova, Georgia and Armenia, and the initialing of relevant agreements.

The changing geopolitical situation, international terrorism and cyber attacks compel EU member states to pool their defense capabilities and use them more efficiently. In December, European leaders will discuss new security threats and Europe's defense industry.

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