With the Presidency coming to an end – a discussion about the rights of European citizens

13 December 2013, Last updated at, 17:20 EET
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author: eu2013.lt

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On 12–13 December, the closing conference of the European Year of Citizens will take place in Vilnius. Representatives of NGOs and European institutions of the old continent will discuss the rights and duties of EU citizens.

“During the Presidency, Lithuania has been striving to create a credible, growing, and open Europe in which interests of residents are taken into consideration, new jobs are created, and finances are managed responsibly. But the Year of Citizens doesn’t end with the Conference – on the contrary, I hope that it will encourage us to continue being active citizens of Lithuania and Europe,” said Linas Linkevičius, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Opening addresses will be given by Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights, and Citizenship, Emily O'Reilly, European Ombudsman, Vydas Gedvilas, First Deputy Speaker of the Seimas, Algirdas Butkevičius, Prime Minister, and Prof. Vytautas Landsbergis, the first Leader of Lithuania after the Restoration of Independence.

The Conference “How to make every year a year for citizens!”, which is being organized by the European Year of Citizens Alliance, the EC, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, will have six topical discussions. Representatives of the non-governmental sector and universities and members of the Commission and Parliament will discuss the role of NGOs in Europe, the cherishing of EU citizens' rights, and new opportunities for citizens to influence policy makers. The coming Parliamentary elections and possible means to encourage Europeans to participate actively in them will be covered as well. Several bloggers from EU countries who actively express their opinion on issues relevant to Europeans will also participate.

During the Conference, Mrs Reding will be given recommendations on improving siuation on European citizens’ rights. These proposals were prepared by the European Year of Citizens Alliance, which unites more than 60 NGOs in the EU.

On Lithuania’s initiative, several representatives of the EU Eastern Partnership countries’ (Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) NGO sector were invited to participate as guests. This is to allow people from these countries to see the actual situation of citizens in the EU and their discussions, and evaluate the benefits of joining the EU.

 

Information for the media:

On 13 December, a press conference will be held at the Seimas with Mrs O'Reilly, European Ombudsman, Juozas Bernatonis, Minister of Justice, Jean-Marc Roirant, Chair of the European Year of Citizens Alliance, and Antigoni Papadopoulou, a MEP. The press conference will take place at the Seimas Press conference hall (II palace) from 10.40 to 11 am.

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