“Conclusions by the European Council have reflected the fundamental consent that European countries should exercise greater responsibilities in enhancing European security and defense,” Lithuanian Minister of National Defense Juozas Olekas said while commenting on the conclusions of the European Council on the future of European Defense adopted on Dec. 20, reports eu2013.lt. “I hope that the opinion of the European leaders will also help promote awareness among our people that defense matters.”
Olekas also underlined the key challenges the European Council identified in further developing the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP): a changing security environment, fragmented European defense markets and constrained budgets, as well as the urge from the heads of state or government to maintain sufficient levels of investment on defense if Europe was to seek a bigger role in the international arena, alongside NATO and UN partners.
The Lithuanian minister also welcomed the fact that the Lithuanian EU presidency priorities in CSDP had also been reflected in the conclusions of the European Council among other measures for strengthening European defense.
Lithuania’s Presidency gave special attention to the field of social security and labor, and was focused on improving the employment situation, especially of young people, with better protection of workers, and social inclusion, reports eu2013.lt.
“I am delighted that we implemented the set goals, and achieved Europe-wide significant results during the Lithuanian Presidency. Among the other achievements, I would like to single out the Council Declaration on the European Alliance for Apprenticeships, implementation of the Youth Employment Initiative and Youth Guarantee Scheme, consensus on the proposal for the new Directive on Enforcement of Posting Workers, and on a measure of strengthening the social dimension as employment and social indicator metrics, as well as a Fund to help the most deprived persons in the EU, that will start functioning in 2014,” said Minister of Social Security and Labor Algimanta Pabedinskiene.
In October in Luxembourg EU ministers responsible for social security and employment approved the Council Declaration, which essentially aims to ensure that in member states, young people can effectively and efficiently acquire the experience and skills necessary for work. The Declaration expresses the endeavours of member states to improve the quality and supply of apprenticeship schemes including employers, public authorities and social partners.