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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso on the occasion of the Raising of the European Union Flag at the start of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council
Visit of the College of the European Commission/Vilnius
5 July 2013
President of the European Council,
Citizens of Lithuania,
First of all, let me thank you for organising this beautiful event in this old, historic and great University of Vilnius. Today marks a historic event.
Lithuania takes over the Presidency of the Council of Ministers for the first time since your accession to the European Union in 2004. It is also the first Presidency of the Council by one of the Baltic States. And this shows how far we have come since the Iron Curtain went down and Europe was reunified.
Your country and nation's European history has been great and long. Your aspiration for freedom and independence over the last century is now linked to the European project, and it is very rightly so. Freedom and Europe, two words that go well together. And I want to praise Lithuania for your achievements of the last decades.
I see your Presidency also a symbolic transition from the position of a country that has benefitted from the membership to the European Union to a Member State that also shapes and takes the responsibility for pushing our European project forward in a constructive and self-confident manner. Because forward goes our European project.
Today Lithuania is becoming the captain that will steer the Council of Ministers of the European Union in close cooperation with all European institutions and all Member States in our joint commitment to growth and employment.
On behalf of the European Commission, I want to assure you of my full support. I trust your strong leadership and commitment to progress with our common agenda at the service of the European citizens. Together we must and we can consolidate the great achievements of peace, freedom, justice and prosperity in the spirit of European solidarity and our shared destiny.
I thank you for your attention.