Lithuanian Justice Minister to Members of the European Parliament: Presidency contributed to creation of credible, growing and open Europe

17 December 2013, Last updated at, 17:42 EET
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Lithuanian Justice Minister Juozas Bernatonis presented the results of the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council in the area of justice to the Members of the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) on December 17 in Brussels.

“During the Presidency, the major focus was on three main goals – the creation of credible, growing and open Europe. In the area of justice, we gave most attention to measures that would restore trust in the economy of the European Union, stimulate growth of the economy and employment, strengthen the common market, ensure financial stability, and reinforce the Economic and Monetary Union,” said Minister Bernatonis. 

Minister emphasized that during the Presidency, the relations of the EU with the third countries were developed and closer cooperation with Eastern Partners was promoted. Essential progress was achieved on the initiatives proposed by the European Commission which ensure the protection of fundamental rights and contribute to economic growth in the EU. 

In pursuing the goal of growing Europe, the Presidency paid special attention to legislative measures that could contribute to the stimulation of economic growth. During the Presidency, the Council agreed on the European Account Preservation Order which establishes a new alternative procedure for blocking European bank accounts that will help creditors with effective debt recovery, also protecting the rights of debtors. The agreement was approved on the amendments to the so-called “Brussels I” regulation, which will ensure coherence between the Unified Patent Court agreement and the “Brussels I” Regulation. 

During the Lithuanian Presidency it was agreed on the political guidelines for further negotiations on the Insolvency Regulation. 

Much attention was given to the proposal on the Common European Sales Law. The aim of the proposal is to improve the operation of the EU internal market, create more favourable conditions for concluding cross-border transactions. The proposal is innovative and complex; therefore, it requires thorough consideration.

During its Presidency, Lithuania actively continued the implementation of the Stockholm Programme – the EU activity guidelines in the area of freedom, security and justice for 2010–2014 – giving particular attention to the protection of human rights, ensuring gender equality and equal opportunities, and diminishing discrimination. The Stockholm Programme will expire in 2014; therefore, the Lithuanian Presidency initiated political discussions on the future of the justice and home affairs (JHA) area. The Presidency prepared the summary of the preliminary proposals of member states regarding the guidelines for JHA area and key principle. It will be presented to Greece, the partner of the Presidency Trio, which will continue the discussions. 

The Lithuanian Presidency achieved significant progress on the proposal of dispensing with the formalities of legalisation of documents: majority of the proposal provisions were analysed. Much progress has also been achieved in negotiating proposals on the property effects of marriage and registered partnerships and the Reform of the European Trade Mark System.

Minister Bernatonis also noted that after several trilateral negotiations with the European Parliament and European Commission, the agreement was reached opening way to adopt the Directive on Collective Management of Copyright and Related Rights. Minister also expressed his satisfaction with the launched and advanced negotiations with the EP on the European Audit Reform. The aim of the amendments to the Audit Directive and the new Regulation is to improve the quality of audits and the conditions of the internal market for financial statement audits, thus restoring trust in the market. The Presidency also achieved significant progress in discussions on the proposal on the disclosure of non-financial information by companies, contributing to improving the company management system of the EU. 

One of the priorities of the Lithuanian Presidency was the consolidation and development of relations with the Eastern Partners. In October, the Meeting of JHA Ministers of the EU Member States and Eastern Partners was organised. The representatives of participating states adopted a joint declaration setting out steps towards closer cooperation in the JHA area between the EU and its partners.

“The past six months was a memorable step in the history of the Lithuanian membership in the European Union, consolidating the relations, cooperation and unity of Member States and institutions”, summarized Minister Bernatonis.

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The 3rd Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius

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