TRANSITION: Philomena Murnaghan emphasizes the good relations between Ireland and Lithuania.
VILNIUS - On Feb. 26, President Dalia Grybauskaite met with President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy to discuss the situation in Europe, topical issues for the EU, Lithuania’s readiness for the presidency of the EU Council and the key work to be done, reports ELTA. “After a few months Lithuania will be not only the geographical, but also a political center of Europe. We will take the helm of the Council of the EU for the first time. We are preparing for that mission very responsibly. It will be our duty to coordinate decisions that are difficult, yet highly important, for the whole of Europe. We must justify the confidence of the international community,” the president said.
Among the issues to be addressed during the Presidency will be the digital agenda, the Eastern Partnership, and defense and security. Our country will have to coordinate the programs of implementing the EU’s new multi-annual budget, mediate in taking decisions on strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union, and continue to build the internal energy market.
Grybauskaite highlighted three major directions of the upcoming Lithuanian presidency. The first direction - financial discipline as a prerequisite for financial stability in the EU. The second direction – Europe’s economic growth, which is possible only through creating a level playing field across the single market. The third direction - the openness of Europe, which is important both in the run-up to the Eastern Partnership Summit and seeking to ensure an effective control and protection of the EU’s external borders.
During the presidency, Vilnius will host the EU Eastern Partnership Summit, the Conference on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT 2013), the Conference on the Completion of the EU Internal Energy Market, the Forum on the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, the EU Youth Conference, and other events.
Lithuania assumes the presidency on July 1.
Learning from experience
Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius met with Philomena Murnaghan, the Ambassador of Ireland to Lithuania, on Feb. 26 also to discuss topical EU issues and items on the bilateral agenda, and cooperation between Lithuania and Ireland, which is the current holder of the Presidency. Linkevicius congratulated the Ambassador on the successful beginning of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Minister expressed belief that Ireland’s 7th EU Presidency would effectively contribute to the solution of issues, which were important for the EU. The head of the Lithuanian diplomacy also evaluated positively the cooperation between the countries in preparing the program of the Council, and thanked Ireland for sharing its valuable experience.
The meeting highlighted that the priorities for the Presidencies of both countries were similar. Linkevicius pointed out that Lithuania’s Presidency would aim to ensure continuity and, just like Ireland, would focus on financial stability, smart growth and jobs, an open and secure Europe, and the neighborhood.
Linkevicius and Murnaghan emphasized the very good relations between the two countries, similar positions and mutual support in the European Union and other international organizations. The minister and the ambassador dedicated much attention to the enhancing business and cultural ties between the countries and highlighted the important role of the Lithuanian community in Ireland in promoting bilateral relations.