RIGA - Latvia wants its presidency of the European Council to be efficient and strong, and the total cost of Latvia's presidency at the European Council is currently estimated at about 50 million lats (71 million euros), Inga Skujina, head of the secretariat of Latvia's presidency of the European Council, told LETA.
While the exact cost of Latvia's presidency of the European Council will be clear only after the presidency is over, Skujina would want Latvia's presidency to be efficient, as was, for instance, Denmark's presidency - which means that the cost thereof could amount to about 50 million lats.
Five years ago, the European Council's presiding countries were prepared to spend over 100 million euros on their presidencies, but now the countries seek ways to have maximally efficient presidencies.
At the end of last year the Irish Independent wrote that Ireland's next presidency of the European Council could cost 60 million euros, compared to 100 million euros that the country had spent on its presidency in 2004.
It is hard to say now how many people will be involved in the preparations for Latvia's presidency of the European Council, added Skujina. About 600 will be involved in the administration and management of European Council task forces and various events, but part of these people already work at the respective ministries. Replacements will have to be found for these people while they work on organization of Latvia's presidency.
"This will be our first presidency, none of us has the experience, but what I see around me is a very great wish that our presidency is successful," said Skujina. "I can see progress in people's attitude and the way they think, and in what they achieve. I am looking forward to the future."