Today, on 4 July, the Vilnius Declaration by the Speakers of Parliaments of Ireland, Lithuania and Greece has been signed at the solemn sitting of the Seimas marking the start of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The declaration of cooperation among the Houses of Parliaments of Ireland, Lithuania and Greece in support of the preparation and fulfilment of the parliamentary dimension of the Presidencies of these three European Union Member States has been signed by Vydas Gedvilas, Speaker of the Seimas; Athanassios Papaioannou, Secretary General of the Hellenic Parliament; and Seán Barrett, Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann.
In this declaration, the Presidency Trio congratulates Ireland for having successfully presided over the EU Council in the first half of 2013 and emphasises the urgent need to encourage the debate on the future of the EU with active participation of European citizens, social and economic partners and all other relevant stakeholders.
As stated by Petras Auštrevicius, Deputy Speaker of the Seimas, responsible for organisation of the parliamentary dimension events of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, this document aims to further stimulate the EU’s potential for the future developments necessary for economic competitiveness and structural changes.
Seán Barrett, Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann, is of the opinion that the new declaration calls for a greater focus on employment, enlargement, and on the European Neighbourhood Policy and for the effective use of EU funds.
“Such declarations indicate the policy interests of the Presidency parliaments and are evidence of a determination to focus our joint efforts on these social and political issues. I look forward to the continued close cooperation between our three parliaments,” stated the Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann in his opening address at the solemn sitting of the Seimas.
It is not the first declaration signed by the Speakers of Parliaments of Ireland, Lithuania and Greece. The first Declaration of Cooperation by the Presidency Trio in preparation for the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and during the Presidency for the period 1 January 2013 - 30 June 2014 was signed on 20 April 2012 in Warsaw.