Folk dancers inaugurate Latvia’s EU presidency

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Latvia’s presidency of the European Council attracted some attention on Monday after it held a traditional folk dance in the Council’s building in Brussels.

Marking the beginning of Latvia’s first EU Presidency, dancers from the Baltic state invited EU officials to join them in the celebration.

“It’s a long-standing Latvian tradition that Latvians are dancers. And we dance not only when we are happy, but also sometimes when it’s hard and you have some difficult work to do. It’s not usual that officials in the Council coming to the meetings are dancing, but you know, from time to time, you need something innovative.” said Ilze Juhansone, Ambassador, Latvian Permanent Representative to the EU.

Visitors can now enjoy trying Latvian folk dance steps when crossing the building’s lobby, following the pattern of an interactive carpet that runs along the main area.

“It wasn’t easy. But this beautiful girl came up to me and said Janis, let’s go and dance. So I couldn’t refuse.” said Latvian Presidency spokesperson Janis Rungulis.

The Baltic state also unveiled an art exhibition including large-scale photographic works and a collection of Latvian furniture to inaugurate the presidency.

The rotating Presidency will be held by Latvia from January until June this year. The crisis in Eastern Ukraine will be the main priority of its six-month presidency.

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