Presidencies of the Council of the EU launched in Jūrmala

Italy, Latvia and Luxembourg marked the beginning of their three six-month presidencies of the Council of the EU with an opening ceremony at the Latvian beach resort of Jūrmala on Tuesday.

Italy is first to take the responsibility, which involves organizing and hosting various EU events, summits and meetings, with Latvia set to take over on January 1, 2015, and Luxembourg six months after that.

Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said: "Today Latvia will for the first time begin setting the EU agenda together with the countries experienced in presiding over the Council of the EU -- Italy and Luxembourg.

"The priorities of our Presidency Trio are economic growth, use of the advantages of the digital environment, employment, in particular considering high unemployment in the EU, especially among youth, and strengthening of the EU’s global role, with the activities of the Trio complementing each other. I can assure you that Latvia is ready for the EU presidency,” he said.

The ambassadors of Italy and Luxembourg represented their respective countries.

On her part, Italian Foreign Minister Frederica Mogherini, in an official video message greeting Latvia to the joint presidency, said that "we have a challenge and a difficult time for Europe, but also the possibility of influencing EU policies a lot, and I think that EU citizens count on us to do this job.”



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