From 1 July 2013 to 31 December 2013, Lithuania presides over the Council of the EU for 1st time since it joined the EU nine years ago. The programme includes the three fundamental priorities for the Lithuanian Presidency – a credible Europe, a growing Europe and an open Europe – and the Council configurations – General Affairs; Foreign Affairs; Economic and Financial Affairs; Justice and Home Affairs; Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs; Competitiveness; Transport, Telecommunications and Energy; Agriculture and Fisheries; Environment; and Education, Youth, Culture and Sport.
During the next six months, the Lithuanian Presidency will focus on the establishment of a single EU digital market through the implementation of the European Digital Agenda. In particular, the Presidency will seek to:
- improve confidence in the internet and its security
- develop digital literacy skills and youth inclusion
- provide the public with considerably faster internet access and adequate data protection
- develop investment for research
- expand applications for ICTs
- ensure the intersectoral implementation of Digital Agenda objectives through the implementation of the priority actions under the second Single Market Act
- increase the transparency of bank account fees
- reduce the implementation costs of electronic communication infrastructure of the digital market
- improve the internal market of electronic communications
- speed up the drafting of proposals on the integrated European payment market and the examination of the issue of electronic invoices in the field of public procurement at the Council
- open negotiations with the European Parliament on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market
- reach an agreement with the European Parliament regarding Guidelines for the trans-European telecommunication networks (TEN-TELE)
- progress with respect to the following directives and regulations:
- the Directive that aims to identify key risks related to the assurance of internet security
- the Regulation on reducing the cost of deploying broadband communications
- the Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites, aiming to enhance accessibility of e-content to disabled people
Under the scope of the 2nd fundamental priority – i.e. a growing Europe, the Lithuanian Presidency will also focus on:
- the establishment of an operational common market for knowledge, research and innovation
- career opportunities for scientists
- the international dimension of science, technologies and innovation
Last but not least, on 6-8 November 2013 Lithuania will, together with the European Commission, host the ICT 2013 international conference in Vilnius, which will debate the development opportunities for digital technologies and innovation throughout the EU.
If you wish to read the full Lithuanian Presidency programme, please click here.
We welcome this new EU Presidency and we wish Lithuania all the best for the next 6 months ahead!