Priorities expand on EU Presidency role

  • 2013-05-15
  • From wire reports

ON BOARD: William Hague stressed the similar attitudes toward security and trade between the UK and Lithuania.

VILNIUS - President Dalia Grybauskaite met with the European Commissioner for Energy, Gunther Oettinger, last week to discuss Lithuania’s upcoming presidency of the EU Council and the strategic energy projects developed in the Baltic region, reports ELTA. Among the points discussed was the European Council summit to be held at the end of May, which will focus on energy and competitiveness.

According to the president, energy will be one of the underlying priorities on the Lithuanian presidency agenda. Energy security can be ensured only through diversification of energy supply sources, providing freedom to choose them, and by strengthening the EU energy market from the inside. During its presidency Lithuania will seek progress in creating an EU internal energy market. A single market will help avoid energy islands in the EU.

Another important task for the Lithuanian presidency of the EU Council is to enhance the EU external energy policy and to have it coordinated at all levels. Consistent, steady and constructive external energy policies of the European Union are crucial to ensuring the energy security and fair prices for energy resources. Lithuania during its presidency will aim to make this issue topical on the agenda, initiating discussions on further steps of the EU.

The president and the commissioner also discussed the necessity to ensure the security of nuclear energy that it is fully in line with international standards and European agreements when building new nuclear power plants in any country in the region.

The meeting included a discussion about Lithuania’s aspiration for being a part of the fully functioning EU electricity market, as well as about the strategic energy projects developed in the Baltic region.
A conference on the completion of the EU internal energy market is planned in November when Lithuania presides over the EU Council.

UK invited to participate
On May 9 in London, Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius met with the British Foreign Secretary William Hague. The meeting mainly focused on Lithuania’s Presidency of the EU Council, starting July 1.
The Lithuanian and British heads of diplomacy also discussed major issues of bilateral and regional cooperation, the European agenda, and cross-border security.
The Foreign Minister stressed that Lithuania’s EU Presidency would mainly focus on financial stability, economic growth and job creation, as well as the openness of Europe in relations with neighboring countries and strategic partners. Linkevicius also acquainted his counterpart with the preparation of Lithuanian authorities to run the presidency smoothly and efficiently.

When speaking about the EU’s relations with neighboring countries, the head of the Lithuanian diplomacy emphasized the significance of the Eastern Partnership Summit, which is to be held this November in Vilnius. The Lithuanian Foreign Minister invited the UK to participate at the highest political level in this extraordinary meeting and stressed that the EU had to use this opportunity to effectively develop an ambitious Eastern Partnership policy.
The British Foreign Secretary called Lithuania’s priorities remarkably ambitious and promised his country’s support for their implementation. Hague emphasized that Great Britain took interest in boosting the EU’s economic growth and successful negotiations on free trade with the EU’s strategic partners, first of all, the United States.
The meeting also discussed the active cooperation between the UK and Nordic and Baltic countries. According to the Foreign Minister and the Foreign Secretary, Lithuania and the United Kingdom share similar approaches to many issues on the EU and NATO agendas.

Linkevicius also met with Timothy Boswell, chairman of the European Union Committee of the UK House of Lords, and Labour’s Shadow Europe Minister Emma Reynolds to discuss Lithuania’s incoming EU Presidency and important issues on the EU and bilateral agendas.

Hungary offers its expertise
On May 8, Lithuanian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Neris Germanas met with the Minister of State for European Affairs of Hungary Eniko Gyori to also discuss Lithuania’s incoming presidency of the EU Council. They agreed to actively make cooperative efforts during the period of Lithuania’s presidency to achieve common goals.
Germanas acquainted Hungarian officials with priorities for the Lithuanian presidency and the preparation of Lithuanian authorities to work together to run the EU smoothly, efficiently and effectively. The Lithuanian deputy minister also thanked Hungary for sharing expertise, which the country accumulated during the period of its presidency.
Gyori stressed that the countries enjoyed excellent bilateral relations and shared similar positions on many key issues on the European agenda. He assured the deputy minister of Hungary’s support to priorities for the Lithuanian presidency.

Participants of the meeting also stressed the importance of the Lithuania-Hungary partnership within international organizations, placing a special emphasis on the effective development of the Eastern dimension of EU policy. The officials agreed to aim for a successful Eastern Partnership Summit.