VILNIUS - President Dalia Grybauskaite attended Lithuania’s EU Presidency closing event, which was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to mark the ending of six months at the helm of the EU institution, reports ELTA.
The president underlined that the EU Council Presidency demonstrated national maturity for the country. Lithuania has successfully fulfilled the tasks assigned to it and justified the trust of the entire European Union, she said.
Milestone agreements have been reached to ensure the EU’s financial, economic and energy security and a solid foundation has been laid for building an open, reliable and growing Europe, continued Grybauskaite.
She presented symbolic commemorative badges to members of the EU Council Presidency team as an acknowledgement of their responsible and professional work during the presidency.
“Presidency of the Council of the European Union is a big challenge and a historic opportunity for 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 the Lithuanian people,” the president said.
During the Lithuanian EU Presidency, 251 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 drew to a close.
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 of the banking union, and the Vilnius Summit that triggered historic changes in Ukraine and brought Eastern Partnership countries ever closer to Europe.
Grybauskaite mentioned the financing for strategic energy projects that was earmarked in the multi-annual EU budget for the first time as well as the list of projects of European importance that are critical to the EU’s economic competitiveness. It is a significant step forward at the European level towards building a single internal energy market that will ensure lower energy prices for consumers. Six Lithuanian projects placed on the list will contribute to ensuring national energy independence.
Over this half year, Lithuania has also moved forward in negotiating free trade agreements with the EU’s strategic partners. Talks were launched with the U.S. and finished with Canada. A mandate was received to negotiate investment protection with China.
The EU Presidency was also a good opportunity to promote Lithuania’s name across the world, added the president. Over 30,000 foreign guests visited Lithuania, 1,800 journalists from all over the world covered the presidency events, President Grybauskaite gave more than 50 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.