Lithuanian Presidency welcomes European Parliament’s approval of the external instruments package

11 December 2013, Last updated at, 15:36 EET
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author: European Parliament

During a plenary session in Strasbourg on 11 December, the European Parliament approved the external instruments of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014–2020, which provides about 51 billion euros for financing EU’s external action.

The package, which was agreed upon during the Lithuanian Presidency, comprises seven instruments: Instrument for stability, European neighbourhood instrument, Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance, Partnership instrument for cooperation with third countries, Financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide, Instrument for development cooperation, and Common rules and procedures for the implementation of the Union's instruments for external action.

“We are glad that the European Parliament approved the package. It's one of the major achievements of the Lithuanian Presidency. The instruments will allow for the efficient use of available resources, and simplified regulatory environment will help to provide easier access to Union assistance by partner countries and regions, civil society organisations, SMEs,” said Vytautas Leškevičius, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs.

It was imperative to finish the negotiations on the external instruments during the Lithuanian Presidency, to ensure that the funds would reach the countries in time.

The Vice-Minister spoke on behalf of the EU Council at the EP regarding preparations for the European Council meeting on 19–20 December. The main topics of next week's meeting are the Common Security and Defence Policy, Economic and Monetary union, and Economic and Social policy. The progress on EU internal energy market creation and external energy policy areas will be discussed as well.

“Even though the agenda is heavy and intense, we are hoping for constructive discussions and results. This meeting of the European Council will be a further step towards consolidating growth, creating jobs, and improving competitiveness in Europe,” the Vice-Minister said.

During the plenary session, the Vice-Minister also presented the Council's position regarding the Justice Programme 2014–2020, the Rights and Citizenship Programme 2014–2020, the 2013 progress report on Albania. In addition, he spoke on behalf of Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, about human rights in the world 2012 and EU policy on the matter.

The Vice-Minister, on behalf of the Council, will also participate in 7th EU-Montenegro Stabilization and Association Parliamentary Committee meeting and will sign 22 legal acts, which had been agreed upon during the Lithuanian Presidency, with Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament. The acts include: the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the Horizon 2020 programme, the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (PSCI), the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the Programme for Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME), the Programme for Environment and Climate Action (LIFE), the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), the Creative Europe programme, Erasmus+, etc.

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