"The Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) should make an impact on the EU's foreign policy. It is the search for a new momentum in EU foreign policy that is one of the key priorities of the Italian Presidency. I am sure that this task will not pose a problem to Italy as one of the founding members of the Community that presides over the Council of the EU for the twelfth time," said Gediminas Kirkilas, Deputy Speaker of the Seimas and Chair of the Committee on European Affairs, according to the press service of the Seimas.
Gediminas Kirkilas
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

According to him, both the Arab Spring and the crisis in Ukraine have demonstrated that the EU cannot ignore events of historic scale that take place beyond its borders. Italy will aim to ensure that the Union's external actions are reliable and consistent and that the EU has all the necessary tools at its disposal to address global and regional challenges. The Mediterranean region is of crucial importance to Europe as well. The constantly increasing migration flows make Europe formulate a common policy on this area of major concern.

"Lithuania feels especially gratified to see that enlargement remains to be a strategic priority for the Italian Presidency. Italy plans to accelerate negotiations with the Western Balkans and to give a new impetus for the negotiations with Turkey. At the same time, the EU's neighbourhood policy is an essential tool that requires a consistent approach in coordination with all countries in the South and East. The Italian Presidency will support bilateral negotiations with strategic partners and rapidly growing Asian economies on trade and investment agreements," Kirkilas said.

On 4 July 2014, at the common meeting of members of Committees of European Affairs and Foreign Affairs, the Italian Ambassador to Lithuania Stefano Taliani De Marchio presented the programme for the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU for the second semester of 2014. Other priorities of the Italian Presidency include boosting employment and economic growth, support to democracy and human rights and reinforcing the freedom of movement.

On 1 July 2014, Italy took over the Presidency of the Council of the EU from Greece. Italy is the first member of the new Trio (Italy, Latvia and Luxembourg) to preside over the Council. The Italian Parliament is planning to organise seven parliamentary dimension events.

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