21 June 2013
Baltic breeze: Lithuania is the first Baltic state to take over the EU Council Presidency
Taking over the EU Council Presidency, Lithuania will focus on pursing credible, growing and open Europe.
This is what country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius said at the launch event of the Official Guide to the Lithuanian EU Council Presidency, hosted by the Permanent Representation of Lithuania to the EU together with Hill+Knowlton Strategies on 13 June.“Lithuania is a fresh breeze, an innovative and vital voice in the EU family. We can add value to the common European objectives”, noted the minister of Foreign Affairs Linkevičius in the key note speech.
Lithuania is the first Baltic state to hold the EU Council Presidency and will take over the Presidency from Ireland on 1 July.
Participants at the event heard about the priorities of the Presidency for the next 6 months from an array of speakers. The keynote speech of the minister was followed by a panel discussion featuring the ambassador Raimundas Karoblis, Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the European Union and Rytis Martikonis, Director-General DG Translation at the European Commission, and moderated by Thomas Tindemans, CEO at Hill+Knowlton Strategies.
Minister Linkevičius emphasized Lithuania’s commitment to the Eastern Partnership policy and expressed his firm belief that 2004 – the year of Lithuania’s accession to the EU – marked one of the greatest successes of the EU. This view was shared by Rytis Martikonis from the Commission, who recalls how Lithuania’s entry into the EU opened doors to a variety of opportunities. Mr Martikonis expressed his confidence that the Lithuanian Presidency will demonstrate that Lithuania has grown quietly but steadily, with self-confidence and sense of responsibility.
The Lithuanian ambassador to the EU Raimundas Karoblis drew attention to the timing of the presidency – the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council will arrive at the peak of the legislative activity in the current cycle and therefore the Lithuanian Presidency will have to deal with an even busier agenda than usual. However, he stated that the Lithuanian Presidency will bring a blend of efficiency, flexibility and creativity to the table, which will be of significant use with its EU and worldwide partners.
The event attracted over 150 participants from across the EU institutions, think-tanks, the Brussels diplomatic corps and other interested parties. It was accompanied by a photo exhibition from the album “Unseen Lithuania” by Marius Jovaiša.
The Official Guide provides contributions from key opinion leaders in both business and politics on some of the priority areas of the Lithuanian EU Council Presidency. It also provides insights into Lithuania’s history, beauty and cultural diversity, as well as more practical information about the Lithuanian government and the team in the Permanent Representation in Brussels.