Speech by Vydas Gedvilas, Speaker of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, at the Meeting of the Chairpersons of COSAC

08 July 2013, Last updated at, 13:28 EEST
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Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič,
Distinguished guests,
Fellow Members of Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me cordially welcome you to the Lithuanian Parliament. I am happy and privileged to have an opportunity to address you.

Today, we begin the first event in the framework of the parliamentary dimension of the first Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU – the Meeting of the Chairpersons of COSAC.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to sincerely congratulate the delegation of the Croatian Parliament which is participating in the Meeting of the Chairpersons of COSAC as a fully-fledged national Parliament of the EU for the first time. Welcome to the circle of friends and colleagues. 

Both the Lithuanian Parliament and the whole Lithuania have been waiting for this moment very long. And finally, the moment has come 23 years later after the restoration of independence and after nine years of our membership of the EU.

Several years ago, in my capacity as Chair of the Seimas Committee on European Affairs, I was actively engaged in the meetings and activities of COSAC; therefore, I was looking forward to our meeting in the Lithuanian Parliament. 

Distinguished Members of Parliaments, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania is ready to make every effort to ensure that we jointly define guidelines for a better, stronger and more united common future in open parliamentary debates.

You, more than anybody else, realise how much work can and needs to be done by the national Parliaments of the EU and the European Parliament to achieve this.

We must join our coherent and persistent efforts to find ways to create more jobs, promote economic growth, ensure financial resistance, increase competitiveness in Europe, create the internal market for energy, services and digital economy, and restore public trust in the European project.
I had an opportunity to briefly discuss these relevant issues with Othmar Karas, Vice-President of the European Parliament, at our meeting several days ago. I believe we shared the same views.
The elections to the European Parliament will be held in May next year. Our activities and initiatives will have a direct influence on the choice of the European citizens on whether or not to go to the elections. This is our common responsibility.

This is the reason why the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, having taken the helm of the inter-parliamentary cooperation in the EU for the first time, chose an active and ambitious programme of the Presidency.

We will host nine parliamentary dimension events and 11 additional events related to the Presidency. Next year, we will host the Conference of Speakers of the EU Parliaments and the preparatory meeting of the Secretaries General.
This is an ambitious plan. But we believe it will be successful. It will enable us to show the advantages of EU membership here in Lithuania and to raise the profile of Lithuania around Europe and the world.

Among the events of the parliamentary dimension, let me underline the two that I believe are the most important. The first is the inter-parliamentary conference established under Article 13 of the Fiscal Compact. It will be held on 16-18 October 2013. For the sake of clarity, we propose to call it the Inter-Parliamentary Conference on Economic and Financial Governance of the European Union. The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania is preparing for the inaugural meeting of this conference very seriously.

The second important meeting is the jubilee L COSAC Meeting to be held on 27–29 October 2013. You will discuss the agenda of this meeting in detail today.

The abovementioned meetings will be held in the historic Hall of the Act of the 11 March of the Seimas, where the restoration of the independent Lithuania and the liberation from the Soviet occupation was solemnly declared by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania which expressed the will of the nation on 11 March 1990.

In preparation for the Presidency events, together with the Lithuanian Institute of History, we have prepared an exhibition of unique historical documents witnessing long-standing ties between Lithuania and other European countries. The exhibition is available in the Exhibition Gallery of Building 1 of the Seimas. You can also find the original copy of the Act of 11 March 1990 among the exhibited items. I invite you to take the opportunity to visit the exhibition. 

In conclusion, I hope that your discussions will be productive and you have a nice stay in Lithuania. We hope to see you in Vilnius again.

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