Presidents assemble

Latvia plays host September 13 and 14 to a collection of European heads of state, meeting under the auspices of the "Arraiolos group" which involves non-executive presidents and includes the presidents of Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Estonia, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Finland, and Germany in addition to the host.

Ahead of the meeting President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis said: “It is a great honour for our country to host the Presidents of the Arraiolos Group in Latvia on its centenary of statehood. At the same time, it is also an assessment of the accomplishments Latvia has reached after the restoration of the independence of the country and the testimony of Latvia’s ability both advocate its national interests and facilitate the common dialogue of the European Union on the future of Europe.”

On Thursday, the Presidents will meet at Rundale Palace, where what is described as a "solemn welcoming ceremony" is scheduled before the first working session called “Building Societal Resilience: From Hard to Soft Security”. At the end of the day, there will be a gala dinner.

On the second day of the meeting, on Friday, the Presidents of the EU Member States will meet at Riga Castle, where the second working session “Europe After 100 Before” [sic] will be convened and where the Presidents will discuss "the future of the European Union and the role of citizens in shaping the future of Europe."

Arraiolos is a small town in Portugal where the first such meeting took place in 2003. Subsequent meetings of non-executive presidents of European Union member states have been dubbed Arraiolos meetings. In 2017 the meeting was held in Malta. The Latvian get-together is the 14th such meeting.

Last year the government supported a proposal to increase revenues of the President’s Chancellery by €360,192 in 2018 in order to pay for the two day event.

It is not the first time Rīga has played host to the meeting: it did so previously in 2007.

The talks are informal in format.

A short promotional video has been made to preview some of the locations hosting events.

 

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