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Handing over of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from Ireland to Lithuania (July 1, 2013)

France expresses its thanks to the Republic of Ireland for assuming its 7th Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which has just ended.

Ireland’s presidency can take pride in its excellent record, with in particular:

-  the agreement on the European budget for 2014-2020, which could soon be confirmed by the European Parliament and the Council;

-  the agreement on the reform of the common agricultural policy and the common fisheries policy;

-  the adoption of flagship measures, such as the commitment to provide €6 billion in funding to the Youth Employment Initiative over the next two years;

-  the work on the banking union, which has made progress thanks to the agreement on the single supervisory mechanism for banks, the definition of new prudential rules for banks and the agreement on bank crisis resolution;

-  Lastly, in the area of justice, freedom and security, the Irish presidency made progress on the governance of the Schengen Area and the definition of a new European asylum system.

The Irish presidency also achieved a number of successes with respect to external issues:

-  in terms of EU enlargement, accession negotiations were resumed with Turkey, following France’s decision to open the chapter on regional policy. Accession negotiations were also opened with Serbia. Lastly, the decision was taken to negotiate a Stabilization and Association Agreement with Kosovo;

-  in terms of the Common Security and Defense Policy, two new operations were launched: the training and advisory mission, EUTM Mali, and the border protection mission, EUBAM Libya;

-  with respect to trade, a mandate was given to the Commission to conduct negotiations on a free trade agreement with the United States, upholding the cultural exception and excluding audiovisual services from the negotiation.

France wishes Lithuania every success in its first Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It assures it of its full support for its efforts, whether with respect to promoting growth and employment in Europe, the strengthening of the economic and monetary union, the completion of the internal energy market or the Eastern Partnership Summit which is due to take place in Vilnius from November 28 to 29.


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