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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Lithuanian Presidency of the EU two-and-a-half times more productive than the average

In an exclusive interview with EurActiv.com, the Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė has appraised the results of her six-month presidency of the Council of the EU. She is satisfied to have passed two-and-a-half times more laws than the average. Lithuania started with a huge number of dossiers and solved many difficult legislative files. The country of 3.2 million people, which joined the EU in 2004, assumed its first presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 July 2013
“A huge workload was pushed to our presidency, because the next one will have to already prepare for the EU elections,” told Grybauskaitė, who reckoned the workload was two-and-a-half times more than that usually dealt with by previous EU presidencies.  “We made it. We passed 61 of the 74 legislative acts so that the EU budget can be operational as of next year,” she added.
Many dossiers, on top of the EU budget, were left over from previous presidencies: posted workers, the tobacco directive, agriculture, rules for Frontex, CO2 on cars. These and others were all fruitfully brought to agreement. According to the Lithuanian president, the greatest achievement is however the banking union.
“In the recent two years we have been creating a number of instruments to fight the crisis (two-pack, six- pack),  but the banking union is the additional tassel in the architecture,” she said. “It is important for economic recovery and financial stability in Europe.”
Even though critics argue the compromise is imperfect and too complex to work effeciently, she points at the positive of having managed to agree on a very sovereign issue such as banking resolution. “The Single Resolution Mechanism was proposed in September and in three months we have an agreement. We have never worked at such speed,” she said.
“It is a compromise – she stressed – we can later improve it, if necessary ste ps are needed. But the fact that we were able to reach a compromise should be saluted as an important step. Optimal or not, time will say,” she clarified. She insisted that the new instruments must now be properly implemented.
Perfection from the start is only for utopians, hinted the president. “The job is better done by those who stop talking about doing something, but that actually get the job done,” she said. “Europe is not a gift, it is responsibility. It takes responsibility to be European. Responsibility to do the reforms which are good for your country. It is fiscal, social responsibility,” she added, insisting that it was time to stop taking European peace, prosperity and security for granted.

Source: Euractiv