As Lithuania’s Presidency of the EU Council is drawing to a close, President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with ambassadors of the 22 EU member states residing in our country, the Press Service of the President has informed.
The meeting focused on the results of the Presidency, the work done, and top priority issues on the EU political agenda.
The President underlined that Lithuania’s EU Presidency is successful – about 80 per cent of assumed tasks have already been implemented. Key outputs of the Presidency are political agreement on the EU budget for 2014-2020 reached after long negotiations with the European Parliament and the Eastern Partnership Summit held last week in Vilnius, she said.
“It is very important that we managed to reach a timely agreement on the EU’s seven-year financial framework. It means that from the beginning of the next year we will be able to use the European support for reducing youth unemployment, boosting economic growth and implementing strategic energy projects. The funds are critical to ensuring the competitiveness of the whole of Europe,” the President said.
Speaking about the Vilnius Summit Dalia Grybauskaitė pointed out that the Eastern Partnership programme gained a new momentum. Strategic EU agreements were signed with Eastern partners, associations agreements initialled with Moldova and Georgia being the most important.
According to the President, it is an opportunity for Eastern Partnership countries to build a better and more secure future that is based on democratic values. Progress has been made in visa liberalization. It was agreed to introduce a visa-free regime for the citizens of Moldova from the next year. The European Union also signed a visa facilitation agreement with Azerbaijan.
Striving for a single European energy market, a budget line for strategic interconnection projects was for the first time provided in the EU seven-year financial framework and a list of the EU Projects of Common Interest was adopted. 15 projects from the Baltic States are placed on the list, including six Lithuanian projects.
We have moved forward with creating the Banking Union – agreed on a single supervisory mechanism aimed at preventing financial and debt crises. The European Council this month is expected to reach agreement on general provisions of the resolution mechanism which will help address bank insolvency problems.
According to the President, an effectively functioning Banking Union will ensure the responsible financial policy, contribute to preventing financial crises in the future, and provide measures to aid countries in trouble.
The EU-US talks on a free trade agreement, which will be the largest trade agreement in the world, were launched during the Lithuanian EU Presidency. Two rounds of negotiations have already taken place since July. One more meeting is planned this year.