On the occasion, Grybauskaitė presented Croatian President Ivo Josipovič with a basketball jersey No. 28 and the phrase "One Team - One Dream," according to the President's Office.
"This is a historic moment for all of us. Finally, the Croatian people are with us! Croatia and Lithuania are basketball countries, so we know very well how important each and every team player is. Let us score victories together," the Lithuanian president told participants of the ceremony in her Croatian-language address.
In her words, Lithuanian and Croatian nations are linked by their very similar histories. Lithuania was among the first countries to recognize Croatia's independence in July 1991. Croatia's journey towards EU membership has taken nine years, just like Lithuania's. Experts from our country have assisted Croatia in carrying out some important reforms.
As the Lithuanian president has noted, it is symbolic that the Lithuanian EU Presidency begins with resuming the Community enlargement process after six years.
“Open Europe is one of the priorities on Lithuania's Presidency agenda. At the European Council summit which took place a few days ago, it was decided to open EU membership negotiations with Serbia and talks on association agreement with Kosovo," reads the press release.
Lithuania is taking over EU Council presidency on Monday, the first day of Croatia's official EU membership. It became the 28th member of the organization.