President Dalia Grybauskaitė delivered a speech at the parliamentary sitting to mark the start of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, congratulating all people of Lithuania on launching the Presidency.
“Many issues important to the whole Europe will be addressed here in Vilnius in the coming half year. It is the best proof that Lithuania is a member of the European Union which is trusted and enjoys the same rights as the other 27 member states,” the President said.
According to the President, Lithuania is taking over the presidency at a time of continuing economic difficulties in Europe. Unemployment, especially among young people, has reached a record high in Lithuania as well as in other EU member states. Therefore, special focus will be on tackling this problem.
The President pointed out that Lithuania believes in a unified and subsidiary Europe and stands for a credible, open and growing European Union. Therefore, in the next six months our country will work to strengthen financial stability and responsibility, consolidate the European Monetary Union, develop the common market, promote competitive business and advance innovation, and contribute to building the EU’s internal energy market.
“Lithuania will improve relations with EU neighbors and will not seek to be a mere “consumer” in the EU. Our politicians, businesses, people of arts and letters, and all citizens want to be part of building Europe’s successful future, therefore we are ready to work hard to create a prosperous and secure European home – our home,” the President said.
The President has concluded her speech by underlying that Lithuania worked earnestly and sincerely to create a feeling of home for all foreign guests who will come to Lithuanian cities in the six months ahead. She therefore invited the people of our country to offer our guests a real opportunity to discover the true beauty of Lithuania and the warmth of its people.
Lithuania is the first of the Baltic States to stand at the helm of the Council of the European Union. During the six months of its presidency Lithuania will host more than 200 meetings. Over 30,000 foreign guests are expected to visit Lithuania.
Later in the day, the President will participate in the flag-raising ceremony at Independence Square.