Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linkevičius: approved EU budgetary package and stronger Eastern Partnership – key achievements of the Lithuanian Presidency

18 December 2013, Last updated at, 17:56 EET
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author: The Council of the European Union

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius on 18 December in Brussels handing over the Presidency of the Council of the EU to Greek Deputy Minister for European Affairs Dimitris Kourkoulas stressed that approval of the Multiannual Financial Framework, 2014 annual budget and stronger Eastern Partnership are among the key achievements of the Lithuanian Presidency.

“Six months ago we took over the relay of Presidency from Ireland with much enthusiasm and hope. Now we stand here stronger, experienced and proud to have served Europe and succeeded. Around 130 legislative and 250 non-legislative files and 50 Council conclusions have undoubtedly contributed to Credible, Growing and Open Europe”, – said minister Linkevičius.
Among the most important deliverables for Growing Europe was the budgetary package: voting on Multiannual Financial Framework and agreement on MFF related legal acts, on 2014 annual budget and on additional spending for 2013.
“Though it took the longest hours and the fiercest debates, we are glad that successfully accomplished this package opens chances for our citizens to use programs already as of the 1st  January. Programs for youth employment, science, research and innovations will make  Europe more competitive in the global market”, – minister Linkevičius said.
Lithuanian Presidency, according to the minister, has also moved forward files of Digital agenda, deepened Single Market, made important steps towards creating an internal energy market and strengthening EU external energy policy.
Seeking Credible Europe Lithuanian Presidency has well advanced with the Banking Union file, bringing to the end the first pillar of it – the Single Supervisory Mechanism – aiming at avoiding financial and debt crises. Reached final agreement on Directives of Bank Recovery and Resolution and Deposit Guarantee Schemes will create a solid ground for greater financial stability in the EU.
Speaking of the Open Europe objective minister Linkevičius stressed a progress made on EU trade agenda: first three rounds of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations and of Free trade talks with Canada were finalized. Breakthroughs in enlargement agenda, especially with Turkey, Serbia and Montenegro, adopted declaration on the future guidelines of the policy, initiated agreement of political association and economic integration with Moldova and Georgia and signed visa facilitation agreement with Azerbaijan have significantly contributed to the Openness of the old continent.
“Led by conviction that Europe’s openness is our strength, we tried to strengthen EU ties with partners. Undoubtedly a milestone for us was the Eastern partnership Summit. Strong presence of member states in Vilnius, expressed solidarity and frank discussions about the future made Eastern partnership stronger”, – was convinced minister Linkevičius. – “No doubt that we remain committed to Ukrainian people who show their heroic determination for European choice, at the same time requesting clarity from the government”, – minister added.
Passing the Presidency relay to the Greek colleagues minister Linkevičius wished all the success to Greece which starts its Presidency on the 1st of January 2014.

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From 28.11.2013 to 29.11.2013
The 3rd Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius

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