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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following the meeting of the European Commission with the Prime Minister of Lithuania, Mr Algirdas Butkevičius
24 April 2013
Good morning ladies and gentlemen,
I really appreciated the kind of discussions we had today with the Lithuanian government. I welcome the Prime Minister of Lithuania Algirdas Butkevičius and the government of Lithuania and high-level representatives of the Lithuanian authorities.
This is a crucial visit in the run up to Lithuania's Presidency of the Council in the second half of this year. This meeting has helped us to "synchronise the clocks" following up on the extensive cooperation over the last year.
The Prime Minister and I, and afterwards the College of Commissioners and the Lithuanian government, we had a very good discussion about the European Union's current agenda and our future cooperation with view to the Lithuanian Presidency. Ministers and Commissioners will indeed continue later with these discussions.
The Lithuanian Presidency comes against the backdrop of a challenging economic outlook and also in a particular moment of the democratic calendar.
Lithuania will be at the helm of the Council of the European Union in the second half of this year, in the last six months before the European Parliament elections in 2014. It will be a period of particularly hard work in the Council and in the European Parliament, because we come to the end of this parliamentary cycle. That is why we need to have a conclusion of very fundamental legislative processes that have already been set in motion. Good cooperation of the Council with the European Parliament will be essential and, as always, the Commission is there to help.
We will have to advance quickly and conscientiously on a series of priorities which have been at the centre of talks this morning:
- implementation of our Compact for Growth and Jobs,
- construction of the Banking Union, including through the adoption of the proposal on the Single Resolution Mechanism which the Commission will present in June,
- and the 2014 objective of fully completing our internal energy market.
Just a few words on the Compact for Growth and Jobs.
I think this compact gives momentum to the re-launch of the European Union economy. It includes a set of growth-enhancing measures and a €120 billion investment package.
To make it a success we need the adoption of the proposals submitted by the Commission under the Single Market Act. We also need to make convincing progress on the initiatives under the so-called Single Market Act II. Deeping of the internal market is key for European Union recovery. I welcome the Prime Minister's commitment and the Lithuanian government's commitment to this task.
As regards the Multiannual Financial Framework for the European Union, assuming there will be an agreement between the Parliament and the Council during the Irish Presidency (that is the goal),, Lithuania will have to do a lot of work still, because there will be the need to agree on the specific legal acts and policies, so that we could reach our objective which is to have everything up and running for the beginning of 2014. I think this is very important, especially for the countries in Europe that need the support of the structural funds of the European Union; not only the most vulnerable countries, but generally speaking the cohesion countries. That is why I would like to urge the Council and the Parliament to move forward in these negotiations, so that we can have this Multiannual Financial Framework up and running in the schedule in principle agreed.
An example where financing is needed is the Eastern Partnership. I know how important this matter is for the Presidency of Lithuania. I share the view of the importance of the Eastern Partnership. The next Eastern Partnership summit will take place in Vilnius in November. We are working very hard to make it a success not only for the Lithuanian Presidency, but of course for Europe and there I mean the European Union and also our partners in our Eastern Partnership. I welcome Lithuania's ambition to give a fresh impetus to this very important European Union policy.
I also welcome the importance which Lithuania gives to energy challenges in its Presidency priorities:
- completing the Internal Energy Market in 2014,
- investing more in modern, trans-European energy infrastructure;
- and ensuring that our energy policies reinforce Europe's competitiveness.
- The upcoming European Council, in May, will be very important in this respect and I am certain that Lithuania will do the necessary to build a very strong energy policy.
We also talked about the situation in Lithuania. I reaffirmed the Commission's support to the ambition of Lithuania to be fully integrated in the EU Baltic region's energy infrastructure.
We also raised the issue of economic and fiscal situation in Lithuania. We agreed that fiscal consolidation and structural reforms are prerequisites for sustainable growth and job creation. This will also help Lithuania in achieving sustainable convergence and in joining the euro.
I congratulated the Prime Minister for Lithuania's intention to join the euro area in 2015 and promised our close cooperation to achieve this purpose.
Let us work together for a stronger Europe. I really believe after the talks we had today that the Lithuanian government is well prepared and focused and I think we are facing these challenges with determination. I am sure the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council will help us to rise to the challenge.
I look forward to a fruitful cooperation in the run up to and during the Lithuanian EU Presidency. We have been invited to come to Vilnius at the beginning of the Presidency, in the beginning of July. Of course we will and on that occasion we will of course further deepen our very good talks of today.
Thank you for your attention.