President of the Republic of Lithuania

EU future-related issues discussed in Brussels

2019-06-20

Thursday, June 20, Brussels – President Dalia Grybauskaitė, together with other EU leaders, is taking part in the European Council meeting to discuss the EU budget, EU’s strategic agenda, external policy, climate change, and other relevant European issues.

EU leaders approved the timetable for further negotiations on the new seven-year budget. It was decided to agree on the 2021-2027 budget by the end of the year.

According to the President, the negotiations must be finalized as soon as possible. A long and complex debate is expected. Not only the interests of all EU member states need to be considered, but talks will have to be held with a more fragmented European Parliament. There can be no delay, which may result in the holdup of EU financial support and the suspension of projects relevant to Europeans.

Lithuania is making every effort to avoid drastic cuts in cohesion funding, to reach the EU average in direct payments to Lithuanian farmers and to receive sufficient allocations for the decommissioning of the Ignalina nuclear power plant. 

EU leaders have also endorsed the EU strategic agenda, which outlines the main development guidelines for the Community in the next five years. The meeting took into account Lithuania’s proposals on hybrid threats and disinformation, fair competition with third countries and assessment of threats to national security. The EU also aims at a fairer distribution of financial resources for promoting research and seeks to maintain an open-door policy to its Eastern partners seeking EU membership.

The Council also approved country-specific recommendations submitted by the European Commission. Lithuania – criticized for social inequality which stands among the highest in the EU, low tax collection, and poor health care system – has been recommended to reduce income inequality, poverty and exclusion, improve tax collection and the social benefit system, increase the quality of education and health care, channel its economic policy and investments to innovation, energy and resource efficiency, sustainable transport and energy links.

Twenty eight EU leaders agreed by consensus to extend economic sanctions against Russia. Sanctions, restricting access of Russian banks and businesses to EU capital markets, new oil exploration and extraction technologies and services, and prohibiting arms export and import, are directly linked to the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

Russia does not comply with the Minsk agreements and continues its aggressive behavior in respect of Ukraine. Ukrainian seamen seized in the Kerch Strait continue to be held in prison. Illegal ‘passporting’ is carried out in Donetsk and Luhansk where Russian passports are issued to the residents of Eastern Ukraine under a simplified procedure. The EU, therefore, stands unanimous in favor of extending sanctions against Russia. 

The meeting also discussed climate change. In the run-up to the UN Climate Change Summit to be held in New York this coming September, Lithuania speaks out for introducing future measures to tackle climate change in addition to delivering the Paris Agreement. According to the President, climate change is a global problem that will affect each and every, so all countries must honestly implement their commitments.

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2019.06.27 09:30

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