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Lithuania Symbolically Hands Over EU Council Reins to Greece
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė symbolically handed over the reins of the EU Council to Greek President Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on December 11. Greece will officially start presiding over the EU Council on 1 January 2014.
Papoulias expressed optimism that Greece will have a successful presidency while welcoming his Lithuanian counterpart.
"Everything will be fine. We have experience in presidencies, and despite difficulties, we are very glad," Papoulias noted following the Lithuanian counterpart's statement that "we were successful and now we are handing over the baton to you to continue this success."
Talks between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and outgoing president of the EU Council Dalia Grybauskaitė focused on Greece's priorities for the next six months, which are development, employment and cohesion as well as the banking and fiscal union, the tackling of undocumented migrants, as well as EU maritime policy.
He further set as targets the strengthening of social policy and security in Europe, as well as the promotion of policies against unemployment.
On her part, Grybauskaitė praised the Greek government's policy of responsibility to do whatever necessary against the economic crisis and congratulated the Greek people for their sacrifices. Moreover, Grybauskaite said that Greece will successfully meet the EU presidency's duties that will contribute to the country's growth.