Keg of Czech beer marks EU presidency handover
AFP/The Local · 21 Jun 2009, 09:15
Published: 21 Jun 2009 09:15 GMT+02:00
Prague's historic Charles Bridge witnessed the wobbly symbolic handover of the Czech European Union presidency to Sweden as officials passed a keg of Czech beer from one boat to another.
"We were looking for a symbol of the Czech presidency that we could pass to
the Swedes, and I think we were right when we ended up with a keg of beer,"
Czech minister for EU affairs Stefan Fule told AFP.
The Czech Republic, which holds the EU presidency until June 30, boasts the highest beer consumption per capita in the world.
Crowds of onlookers watched Fule and his predecessor Alexandr Vondra take the oars to transport the 42-kilo keg to the middle of the Vltava river, where a delegation from the Swedish embassy in Prague took it over.
But the ceremony was partly lost in confusion as curious tourists on rowing and pedal boats surrounded the dangerously swaying boats to take pictures.
The event took place near the historic Charles Bridge - which was badly damaged during the Swedish siege of Prague during the Thirty Years War.
The official ceremony to mark the beginning of the Swedish EU presidency will take place on July 1st and will be followed by a meeting of the EU Commission in Stockholm.