Lithuania unveils EU presidency logo
13.05.13 @ 09:21
Vilnius - A summer day on the bank of the Neris river: children fly kites, the smell of barbecue is in the air, pop songs resound from a small stage.
EU flags are being distributed and dozens of teenagers wear sweaters with the same logo that is printed on a huge flag spread out on the grass: the Lithuanian EU presidency logo.
President Dalia Grybauskaite, a former EU budget commissioner, joined the crowd in holding the flag. It is then lifted in the air by a kite and flies over the Neris river, all to the tune of Beethoven's Ode to Joy, the EU anthem.
"A kite's flight is the ability to harness the wind for own success. Lithuania is preparing for a special flight during the next half of the year: we will have to work shoulder to shoulder consolidating Europe," Grybauskaite told the crowd as her country prepares to take over the rotating EU presidency on 1 July.
Picked from several ideas submitted by email, the circle-logo was finalised by a local designer and symbolises a united Europe, while the plait with Lithuania's national flag colours suggest Baltic and Nordic cooperation embedded in the wider European Union.
The six-month EU presidency is currently held by Ireland. Greece will follow Lithuania from 1 January 2014.
A presidency usually has the role of a mediator - chairing EU ministers' meetings and working on legislation with the EU parliament - and hosting events in the national capital.
The main event hosted in Vilnius will be an Eastern Partnership summit in November, when Ukraine and Moldova hope to be awarded closer ties with the EU.
Meanwhile, in Brussels, Lithuanian diplomats will be busy finalising the roughly 70 separate pieces of legislation underpinning the EU budget for 2014-2020, still to be agreed with the European Parliament.