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Herman van Rompuy over zijn ontmoeting met premier Litouwen (en)

Met dank overgenomen van Raad van de Europese Unie (Raad), gepubliceerd op vrijdag 5 juli 2013.





Vilnius, 5 July 2013

EUCO 162/13


PR PCE 143

Remarks by President of the European Council

Herman Van Rompuy

after his meeting with Prime Minister of Lithuania

Laba diena, good day. Can I first of all say that I am very glad to be here in Lithuania again. Last time I was here was in February 2013. I should like to thank President Grybauskaité and Prime Minister Butkevičius for their hospitality.

This week you took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, as the first Baltic country to do so. You are also the first to chair it for 28 Member States, following Croatia's accession. Holding the presidency is an honour but also a challenge. You have embraced the preparations with great professionalism, making your first Presidency a real national project. I will support you of course as President of the European Council.

The Presidency comes at an important junction for Europe. We are past the immediate crisis, in particular the existential threat to the euro, but we are still not yet where we want to be.

  • First, we must continue to preserve financial stability. This is not only a task for the European Union institutions. Recent events show how a problem in one country can have a spill-over effect;
  • Second, we must continue to make our economies more resilient, through sound public finances and improved competitiveness; in this respect, Lithuania's fiscal consolidation strategy has been successful, and I welcome that early next week the Council will abrogate the excessive deficit procedure.
  • Third, we need to take immediate measures for jobs and growth - not least to fight youth unemployment; at last week's European Council, European leaders - amongst other decisions - agreed to scale up and speed up our Youth Employment Initiative, to a projected 8 billion euro (or more), with most of the money concentrated already in the next two years. The Summit became a real rallying point, mobilising Member States, social partners and European institutions. We now have to keep the momentum; and finally:
  • The fourth fundamental - we need to complete the architecture of our economic and monetary union.

Plainly speaking, we still have plenty of work to do. Adding to the sense of urgency is that the Lithuanian presidency is the last "full" presidency before the European elections in May next year, and this means that you will be faced with a heavy legislative agenda.

For growth and jobs it will be crucial that all the necessary regulations connected to the EU budget [MFF] for 2014 - 2020 can be adopted. Equally important is to move forward with the implementation of other decisions taken, such as those on energy and taxation, taken at the European Council in May. I also know that the Lithuanian Presidency is looking forward to the discussion on Digital Europe and innovation at the October European Council. I will associate the Lithuanian Presidency in preparing this European Council meeting.

Completing the banking union is another key priority, in order to ensure financial stability, reduce financial fragmentation and restore normal lending to our economy. It is now the turn of the Lithuanian presidency to take the lead and bring us closer to a genuine banking union, with the adoption of two directives, on bank resolution and recovery and on deposit guarantee schemes, and with an agreement between Member States on a Single Resolution Mechanism by the end of the Lithuanian presidency.

Another issue that I know is of particular interest to you is the Union's Eastern Neighbourhood. Launched in 2009, it was a new beginning in the EU's efforts to develop stronger relations with its Eastern Neighbourhood, while promoting political and economic reforms. At the end of November we will have the Eastern Neighbourhood summit here in Vilnius. We should keep our level of ambition high. I hope that when the time comes in November we will have tangible results, since strengthening the lasting links with the EU could be of historic importance for this part of Europe. We may not underestimate this.

So what needs to be done in the coming months captures precisely the motto of the Lithuanian Presidency of a "credible, growing and open Europe".

President Grybauskaité, I am glad to see that Lithuania is ready for this important Presidency. I know that you have a strong belief in Europe. Only by joining the efforts of all European people can we make Europe stronger. I am confident that under your leadership and that of your ministers the Lithuanian Presidency will be both fruitful and successful. Atchiou yums, thank you.


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