The Lithuanian EU Presidency - ‘A fresh Baltic breeze’

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Lithuania, a country of 3.2 million which joined the EU in 2004, will assume its first presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 July. Lithuania considers itself one of the most successful countries to overcome the economic and financial crisis and to return to sustained recovery and growth. It is the first Baltic country to take the EU stint.

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This is the first presidency for Lithuania, which is also the first Baltic country to take the EU stint. The two other former Soviet-occupied republics, Latvia and Estonia, will assume their presidential duties in the first half of 2015 and in the first half of 2018 respectively.

The Lithuanian Presidency is also the first of a Union with 28 member states. Croatia will join the EU on 1 July, the first day of Lithuania's stint, as the 28th EU member. 

Lithuania assumes its presidency in the final period of the mandate of the European Commission and the European Parliament. The next Greek Presidency will have to prepare for European elections, to be held between 22 and 25 May 2014. The small administration of the country will have to deal with an unusually heavy agenda that will also include the “unfinished business” left over from previous presidencies.

Although it has not yet become a eurozone member, Lithuania has been more successful economically than many other EU countries during the eurozone crisis. “Lithuania is a fresh breeze, an innovative and vital voice in the EU family,” the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius recently stated.

The Presidency takes place during the European Year of Citizens, and this explains the motto of the presidency, built around the key words “credible Europe”, “growing Europe” and “open Europe”. Lithuania says it will strive to make progress toward sounder public finances, towards the implementation for the Compact for Growth and Jobs, and towards the strengthening of the EU as a global model of openness and security.

Commission President José Manuel Barroso said the Lithuanian Presidency would be “a period of particularly hard work in the Council and in the European Parliament”.

After the European Parliament and the European Council sealed a compromise deal on the long-term EU budget for 2014-2020, the task of negotiating the distribution of the funds falls on the Lithuanian presidency, which also has to steer the adoption by co-decision of some 80 pieces of legislation needed to implement the budget.

In addition, Lithuania would have to push the implementation of the ‘Compact for Growth and Jobs’, agreed in June 2012 under pressure from the recently elected French President François Hollande. Other priorities are the Banking Union, including the adoption of the proposal on the single resolution mechanism which the Commission will present in June, and pushing the objective of fully completing the internal energy market by 2014.

Lithuania and several other EU countries attach particular importance to the Eastern Partnership summit that will take place in Vilnius on 28-29 November. If successful, the summit could mark the signing of an association agreement with Ukraine, as well as the initialling of association agreements with Armenia, Moldova and Georgia.

The budget of Lithuania’s Presidency of the Council of the EU is €62 million. This figure is smaller than those for previous presidencies, as it includes the funding allocated for all Lithuanian official authorities involved in the process.

The colours of the Lithuanian Presidency logo symbolise Lithuania's close relations with the Baltic and the Nordic regions, while the blue bow of the EU flag represents the universally shared values and activities. The garland of the Lithuanian national flag’s colours – yellow, green, and red – completes the logo circle. 

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