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European Union; Lithuania: Lithuania in Charge of European Council Presidency

(July 12, 2013) On July 1, 2013, Lithuania assumed the rotating Presidency of the European Council for the first time. There is an ambitious agenda to achieve a number of objectives during the six-month period of the Presidency. Highlights of its priorities were discussed with Members of the European Parliament. (Press Release, European Parliament, Lithuanian Presidency Priorities as Presented in EP Committees (July 7, 2013).)

Among the new Presidency’s key priorities are:

  • preparation for European elections in May 2014 and the accession of the European Union to the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;
  • in regard to the internal market, further development of a true, digital single market, to strengthen consumer safety, and to improve market surveillance;
  • extensive dedication of effort on establishing the European Union Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps and on making humanitarian aid more effective;
  • in regard to employment, a focus on the critical issues of youth unemployment and undeclared work in the EU as well as the portability of pensions and protection of workers in general, especially protection of workers posted to other EU nations;
  • completion of the energy market, finalization of the EU bio-fuels directive, and speeding up of negotiations of the draft directive on nuclear safety; and in the area of foreign affairs, a commitment to be “positively constructive,” in order to ameliorate ties between the EU and its neighbors, to open accession negotiations with Serbia, as well as to open negotiations on a stabilization agreement with Kosovo and to continue discussions on accession with Turkey and Iceland. (Id.)