On 15-16 January in Strasbourg, Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Vytautas Leškevičius held meetings with leaders of the main political groups of the European Parliament and assured them that Lithuania’s forthcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union would seek to cooperate more closely with the European Parliament.
“One of the Presidency’s main objectives is a smoothly running EU legislative process, in which the European Parliament plays a very important role. Therefore, Lithuania’s Presidency will seek to work in partnership with the European Parliament, ensuring a constructive and effective cooperation. This is particularly important, because Lithuania’s Presidency of the EU Council will be dealing with imminent EU legislation work, as the European Parliament’s term of office will end,” Leškevičius said.
The Council creates the EU legislation together with the European Parliament. Lithuania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of this year will have to adjust interests of all member states. Moreover, Lithuania will have to represent the Council also in the negotiations with the European Parliament.
“The Presidency presents a big challenge for Lithuania. Therefore, when cooperating with the European Parliament, we shall particularly rely on the support of the Members of the European Parliament who were elected in Lithuania,” Leškevičius said during a meeting with Members of the European Parliament elected in Lithuania.
The Vice-Minister met with leaders of the two largest Political Groups in the European Parliament: Chair of the Group of the European People’s Party Joseph Daul and Chair of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament Hannes Swoboda. The Lithuanian Vice-Minister also met with Chair of the Conference of Committee Chairs Klaus-Heiner Lehne, Head of Cabinet of the President of the European Parliament Markus Winkler, Secretary-General of the European Parliament Klaus Welle, and other high-ranking officials.
The meeting focused on the negotiations on the EU multiannual financial framework negotiations for the years 2014-2020. According to Leškevičius, Lithuania often shares interests with the European Parliament, e.g., the allocation of funds for the programmes that promote growth and bridge the gap between member states.
The Vice-Minister and Andreas Mavroyiannis, Deputy Minister for European Affairs for Cyprus, discussed in detail the experience of the cooperation with the European Parliament of the current Cypriot Presidency. During the plenary session, the Vice-Minister listened to the speech delivered by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Prime Minister of Ireland, who presented the Programme of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. In the beginning of July, the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė will present priorities of the Lithuanian Presidency at the plenary session in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.