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267 words - August 1, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
"The first month of the Lithuanian Presidency has shown that we can find solutions essential to Lithuania and the European Union. We have proven fully capable of carrying out the duties of the Presidency," said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius, while detailing the achievements of the first month of the EU's Lithuanian Presidency: 244 meetings in all.
"The negotiating teams have done a great job. The results of July and the opportunity to prepare in August are stepping stones to an even more intensive autumn," Minister Linkevicius added. The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) and the Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGRIFISH) respectively chaired by the Minister of Finances, Rimantas Šadius, and the Minister of Agriculture, Vigilijus Jukna, reached significant agreements. ECOFIN has adopted legislation on Latvia's entry to the euro zone on January 1, 2014 and formally agreed on the first tranche of the EU 2013 amending budget, amounting to EUR 7.3 billion. The AGRIFISH agreed on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and scheduled further talks for September.
On the international stage, the "military wing" of Lebanon-based Shia group Hezbollah was included in the EU's list of terrorist organizations, drawing much praise from the United States and Israel. Backing the European Commision's efforts, the Lithuanian Presidency also monitored recycling fee issue with Russia, and with trade dispute – apparently settled – with China over the imports of solar panels. There was also fruitful discussion with Ukraine and the EU-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is expected to be signed during the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius.
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