President Dalia Grybauskaitė i attended Lithuania's EU Presidency closing event organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The President underlined that EU Council Presidency demonstrated national maturity. Lithuania has successfully fulfilled the tasks assigned to it and justified the trust of the entire European Union. Milestone agreements have been reached to ensure the EU's financial, economic and energy security and solid foundation has been laid for building an open, reliable and growing Europe.
She presented symbolic commemorative badges to members of the EU Council Presidency team as acknowledgement of their responsible and professional work during the presidency.
"Presidency of the Council of the European Union is a big challenge and historic opportunity to Lithuania. We have not only successfully fulfilled the tasks entrusted to us, but also proved that we can assume responsibility for the matters that are important to the whole of Europe. That we can mobilize ourselves and mobilize all 28 EU member states around common goals. We have proved that Lithuania is a responsible, reliable and trustworthy country. And credit for that goes to the presidency team and all Lithuanian people," the President said.
During the Lithuanian EU Presidency, 251 important EU legal acts were adopted and progress was achieved in negotiating 114 initiatives. The workload Lithuania had to cope with was two and a half times heavier than usual as the current term of the European Parliament and the European Commission is drawing to a close. Despite busy agenda and external disturbances Lithuania has successfully fulfilled the responsible tasks entrusted to it and ensured smooth running of the EU Council.
Key outputs of the Lithuanian EU Presidency, she noted, include a political agreement with the European Parliament on the EU budget for 2014-2020, deals on further building the banking union, and the Vilnius Summit that triggered historic changes in Ukraine and brought Eastern Partnership countries ever closer to Europe.
According to the President, these are very important steps that will help ensure economic growth and well-being of the people in the EU, allow effectively address unemployment issues, restore Europe's financial stability and boost the EU's global competitiveness. The EU's association agreements initialed with Moldova and Georgia as well as other important agreements will serve to strengthen democratic development of Eastern Partnership countries and ensure a more stable and secure neighborhood.
Financing for strategic energy projects earmarked in the multiannual EU budget for the first time as well as the list of projects of European importance are critical to the EU's economic competitiveness. It is a significant step forward at European level towards building a single internal energy market that will ensure lower energy prices to consumers in the Union. Six Lithuanian projects placed on the list will contribute to ensuring national energy independence.
Over this half year, Lithuania has also moved forward negotiating free trade agreements with EU's strategic partners. Talks were launched with the United States of America and finished with Canada. Mandate was received to negotiate investment protection with China.
EU Presidency was also a good opportunity to promote Lithuania's name 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 to foreign journalists, and around 500 Lithuanian cultural events took place in various European countries.
Lithuania's next Presidency of the EU Council will take place only after 14 years.