Lithuania has justified Europe’s trust

Source: Lithuanian Presidency of the EU i, published on Friday, December 20 2013.

Friday, December 20, Brussels - President Dalia Grybauskaitė i presented the results of Lithuania's Presidency of the EU Council to European leaders. She underlined that Lithuania stood at the helm of the European Union at a very special time.

Despite busier than usual agenda, international crises and constant pressure and provocations from Russia, Lithuania has successfully fulfilled the responsible task entrusted to it, ensured smooth running of the EU Council and continuity of work. Lithuania has agreed two and a half times more legal acts than is normally done during a rotating presidency - 251 documents important for Europe's future were adopted and progress was achieved in negotiating 114 initiatives.

"Through collaborative efforts we have reached milestone agreements to ensure financial, economic and energy security of the European Union. Lithuania has justified Europe's trust. Solid foundation has been laid for further building an open, reliable and growing Europe," the President said.

The most difficult and important achievement of the Lithuanian EU Presidency is completion of negotiations on 59 programmes that are essential to implementation of the EU's multiannual financial framework. It means that the 28 member states next year will have access to EU support for realization of the projects aimed at boosting the well-being of their people and national economic growth. Lithuania will be able to use for its needs a LTL 44.5 billion support in the period 2014-2020.

Lithuanian EU Presidency placed special focus on fighting youth unemployment. The Council Declaration on the European Alliance for Apprenticeships will foster young people's work-based learning. Funds are earmarked in the new multiannual EU budget for implementing the Youth Guarantee initiative. Under it Lithuania will receive 109 million litas in 2014-2015 and 120 million litas will come from the Cohesion Fund by 2020.

Decisions to enhance Europe's energy security and competitiveness were also made during the Lithuanian presidency. Agreement was reached on the list of strategic projects providing for their financing from the EU budget for the first time. The list includes 6 projects of importance to Lithuania's energy security.

Extraordinary negotiating capacity and search for compromise were needed for banking union deals. Agreement of EU members on the single resolution mechanism, bank recovery and resolution directive and deposit guarantee schemes will not only enable effective restructuring of insolvent banks and deliver financial aid instruments, but also protect deposits and help restore the trust of global markets in the Union.

Vilnius Summit that triggered historic changes in Ukraine and other Eastern Partnership countries also attracted attention of Europe and the whole world. EU initialed association agreements with Moldova and Georgia, signed visa facilitation agreement with Azerbaijan and agreement on participation in EU-led missions with Georgia, initialed aviation agreement with Ukraine and offered visa-free regime to Moldova.

Over this half year, Lithuania has also moved forward negotiating free trade agreements with strategic partners. Talks were launched with the United States of America and finished with Canada. Mandate was received to negotiate investment protection with China.

Lithuanian EU Presidency contributed to promoting the country's name in Europe and across the world. Over 30,000 foreign guests visited Lithuania, 1,800 journalists from all over the world covered the presidency events, President Grybauskaitė gave more than fifty interviews, and around 500 Lithuanian cultural events took place in various European countries.