Latvia becomes second Baltic nation to take EU presidency, Estonia waiting for 2018 ({{commentsTotal}})

Riga, the capital of Latvia
Riga, the capital of Latvia Source: Photo: Reuters/Scanpix

The six-month rotating residency of the Council of the European Union arrived in Latvia, with Estonia quietly preparing for its turn in exactly three years' time, when the nation turns 100.

Latvia will focus on competitiveness, the digital union and Europe's role in the world, while the Baltics will also receive much limelight.

The half-year will officially be opened in a week, when many of the union's top politicians will arrive. The nation will host hundreds of meetings and workshops, with the newly opened national library in Riga set to host half of the meetings.

The highlight of the presidency will be a summit meeting in the second half of May, which will focus on redefining EU's Eastern Partnership program.

Latvia will welcome around 25,000 officials. The total budget is around 70 million euros. Such numbers which have already began to cause headaches for Estonia, as it looks towards 2018.

Estonia has calculated it will need around 1,000 civil servants for its rotation, all with a good grasp of English, something which is turning out to be more difficult than expected. Piret Lilleväli, in charge of the preparations in Estonia, said many government officials will have to take on two jobs during the period.

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