It will be the first time that a Lithuanian minister will lead an EU delegation and speak on behalf of the EU Council, Lithuania's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced on Thursday.
When the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy cannot chair international meetings, she is substituted by the foreign minister from the presiding country or the so-called Troika.
This time the upcoming meeting of the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council will be chaired by Minister Ažubalis from Lithuania which is set to take over the EU Presidency on 1 July next year.
CARIFORUM is a union of Caribbean states and serves as a base for political dialogue, regional integration and economic cooperation, especially with the EU. In 2008, they signed an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union. The agreement is temporary in force since December 2008 as not all EU member states have ratified it. Lithuania ratified the agreement in the spring of 2012.
The Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council is the highest joint institutional body for decision-making and meets once in two years. This year the council is scheduled to adopt three key decisions: to include the Bahamas' commitments regarding investment and trade in services into the agreement and set up two institutional bodies, including a consultative committee and a council of arbitrators.