Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vytautas Leškevičius: approval of the EU Multiannual budget is the key task of the EU Council and Parliament

23 October 2013, Last updated at, 17:51 EEST
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V.Leškevičius | author: European Parliament

 On 22 October, Vice-Minister Leškevičius presented the Lithuanian Presidency’s midterm results at the EP Conference of Committee Chairs, and stressed that the approval of the EU multiannual budget remaines the most important task. He also expressed hope that the EP would vote on this matter during the coming plenary session.

 “Lithuanian Presidency is striving to reach the set goals in creating a credible, growing, and open Europe. During the first months of the Presidency of the Council, we approved the 2014 budget, reached agreement on Draft amending budgets of 2013, reached a political agreement on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), made progress and is hoping to find a compromise on the Cohesion Policy. It is also very important to ensure that the Multiannual financial framework’s programmes – be it cohesion, external financing instruments or justice and home  affairs – start in time. We really hope that EP approves on the MFF in November's plenary. This is part of our promise to regain credibility with the people of Europe, delivering on the outcomes, carrying out what we have committed to doing and by showing that we can work effectively together in the interests of Europe's citizens”, Vice-Minister Leškevičius said.

Council is making great efforts to achieve a fully functioning Banking Union: last week Regulations on the Single Supervisory Mechanism were approved, and hopefully a general approach can be achieved on the Single Resolution Mechanism. We need flexibility from both sides -- the Council and the European Parliament -- in order to close negotiation on these dossiers by the end of Lithuanian Presidency.

Mr Leškevičius noted that the Council has agreed on financing of growth-boosting programmes such as Horizon 2020, Customs 2020, Creative Europe, Connecting Europe Facility, EaSI, and Life for 2014–2020. Agreements were reached on funding of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism; the Public Procurement package was completed, which should lead to simplification of procedures as well as more efficient procurement.
The Council is doing utmost to complete the Internal Energy Market by 2014. We need to make progress on Digital Agenda and specifically on creation of a Digital Single Market by 2015 as well as implementation of the Service Directive.

As for an open Europe, Lithuanian Presidency welcomes the progress in EU negotiations on free trade agreements with our strategic partners. Political agreement with Canada has been reached, negotiations with Japan are continuing, negotiations with the U.S. have started successfully. A mandate for negotiations with China regarding an investment agreement has been approved.

Vice-Minister Leškevičius before the coming Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, during which an association agreement with Ukraine is expected to be signed, some challenges have arisen. Despite them, the Lithuanian Presidency has achieved some tangible results: the Council consensus on the provisional application of the trade parts of the Association Agreement with Ukraina following signanture an prior to ratification. Association negotiations with Georgia have been completed, and substantial progress has been made on visa liberalisation action plans for  Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

In concluding the presentation of the Lithuanian Presidency's midterm results to the EP Committee Chairs, the Vice-Minister stressed that there was still much work awaiting, thus the remaining time had to be used to its full potential, and closer cooperation between the EU Council and the EP had to be sought. Lithuania is prepared to continue working towards the set goals.

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