"We believe in a solidary and subsidiary Europe. We speak out in favor of a trustworthy, open and growing European Union. Therefore, over the upcoming six months, we will work on strengthening the EU's financial stability and responsibility. We will strengthen the European Monetary Union. We will develop the single market and promote business competitiveness and innovations," the president said.
She also underlined in her speech that Lithuania took over the EU presidency at a time when the economic situation in Europe remains complicated.
"Unemployment, especially youth unemployment, in both Lithuania and other EU member states has reached record heights. We still need to make effort in seeking long-term financial stability coupled with growth-promoting measures and structural reforms," the head of state said.
In her words, "economic and energy competition today still raises more issues than the EU is able to answer" and Asian and Latin American countries are challenging Europe.
"And if we fail to make effort to change the situation, it will be increasingly difficult for us to compete," Grybauskaitė said.
The Lithuanian president named non-competitive prices of energy resources in the whole Europe as one of the reasons for that.
"The whole of Europe finally experiences and realizes that the monopoly of supply of energy resources is contrary to the goals of our growth and well-being of people. Step by step but purposefully, the EU should move forwards not only by creating an internal energy market but also seeking an agreement on an external energy policy. As only competitive prices of energy resources can help us to bring the economy of entire Europe to the path of stable growth," the Lithuanian president said.
In her speech, she also mentioned other presidency priorities, including improvement of relations with EU neighbors, development of trade with strategic partners and strengthening of the security and defense policy.
"Being only "a consumer" of the EU is not the goal of Lithuania. Our politicians, business, artists and all citizens want to contribute to the creation of a successful future for Europe. We are ready to work hard on the creation of a safe and rich European home. Our home," the president said in her speech which she ended with calling on all "EU member states and neighbors to work together."
Baptism of a new member
The presidency of the EU Council is like baptism for a new EU member state, Speaker of the Lithuanian Seimas, Vydas Gedvilas, says.
"Lithuania is the first of the three Baltic states, given this significant and responsible mission. We are dealing with such a challenge for the first time. It is like baptism after which you can call yourself an experienced European state and not a newcomer," Gedvilas told the Seimas during the solemn sitting.
In his words, Lithuania will be responsible for the EU agenda over the upcoming six months and will have to deal with issues important for all Europeans.
"I am glad to note that Lithuania is the first country presiding over a recently enlarged Europe which now has 28 members," the Lithuanian parliamentary speaker said congratulating Croatia on its EU accession.
In his words, Lithuania will face a record legislative package of 350 documents to be considered by the Council. Around 200 presidency-related meetings are planned. Heads of state and government from 34 countries, over 800 ministers, over 10,000 delegation members and around 1,500 journalists will attend top-level meetings.
"We will pay particular attention to the following presidency priorities: strengthening of energy security, the effective implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, consolidating closer ties with the European Unions' eastern neighbors and strengthening the protection of the EU's external borders," the speaker said.
The EU presidency is a great opportunity for a country to introduce itself, Gedvilas has underlined.
"I do believe that following the Lithuanian presidency, foreign guests will take with them the warmest memories of friendly and good-natured people of our country, their abilities and achievements. They will remember the beauty of our country's nature. And will talk about our culture and heritage," he said.
The solemn parliamentary sitting is being attended by Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Sean Barrett, speaker of Ireland's House of Representatives, Ene Ergma, speaker of the Estonian parliament, Josip Leko, speaker of the Croatian parliament, Solvita Aboltina, speaker of the Latvian parliament, Bogdan Borusewicz, speaker in the Polish Senate, and Vice-President of the European Parliament Othmar Karas.
Lithuania took over the rotating EU presidency on July 1.