President doubts benefits of rotating EU presidency

Latvian President Andris Berzins on Wednesday said he was doubtful about how beneficial the country's looming tenure of the Presidency of the Council of European Union would be in the first half of 2015.  

Speaking to the BNS news service, Berzins said: "The presidency mechanism is not flexible - it is complicated for the small countries to lead the big ones."

The costs of holding the presidency, which involves hosting numerous high-level meetings for EU leaders, an extensive cultural and publicity program and massive security spending, were unlikely to be outweighed by the benefits, such as widespread media coverage of the country, Berzins said.

"The presidency also will help to establish contacts and understanding with similar institutions in other countries. This all is positive, but I am not sure it is enough," said the Latvian president.

In addition, he said the timing of the presidency, which has been scheduled for years, was unfortunate as a new government was still in the process of bedding down, BNS reported.

"If I am wrong, I would be more than happy to say the opposite after the presidency,"  he said.

His words are likely to cause embarrassment to organizers of the EU presidency, who are trying to stress the importance of Latvia's six-month spot in the limelight between the current presidency of Italy and the presidency of Luxembourg in the second half of 2015.

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