Thursday

27th Jun 2019

Czechs unveil 'playful' EU presidency logo

"Colourful and playful - just like our nation," was how the Czech government described its official logo for their country's upcoming chairmanship of the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union, set to start in January 2009.

The logo incorporates a short version of the website of the EU's forthcoming six-month chairmanship by the first "new" Central European country, "EU2009.cz".

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"It should symbolise colourfulness, openness and a sort of playfulness. These are strong features of our country," the Czech vice-premier, Alexander Vondra, told reporters when presenting the logo on Wednesday (12 November), the Czech press reported.

Each letter and number of the web-address-cum-logo comes in a different colour. Czech designer and author of the winning design Tomas Pakost (34) suggested that the colours, described by some commentators as somewhat more eccentric than has been used before, in fact correspond to the flags of the EU's member states.

The logo was chosen out of 350 submissions by a jury that included government officials.

Prague has already ruffled feathers with its video presenting the Czech presidency with sugar cubes under the motto, "We will sweeten it for Europe."

Some critics argued the video could be interpreted as portraying the Czechs as Europe's troublemakers.

The Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), a coalition partner of the main government party, the Civic Democrats (ODS) of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, originally also protested against the video and its ambiguous message to the outside world.

Commenting on the logo, Cyril Svoboda, a KDU-CSL deputy and a cabinet minister said: "It's simply a European logo. Nobody will open champagne or buy a rope to hang themselves because of it."

More openly critical, the main opposition leader Jiri Paroubek, chair of the Czech Social Democrats, views the design chosen by his political rivals as a bad joke. "It's really this? That's not turned out well," he said.

The Czech Republic will be the second "new" EU member state to chair the bloc, after Slovenia in the first half of 2008.

Prague's plans and ambitions have been threatened - at least symbolically - at least twice before the country even started presenting its symbols.

First due to the Lisbon Treaty - originally scheduled to come into effect by January 2009 – as it would leave the Czechs as the first presidency co-existing with the bloc's newly introduced "permanent president" of the European Council [representing the member states] as well as a common EU foreign policy chief.

However, after the rejection of the treaty by the Irish citizens in a June referendum, these two leading tasks will be still now performed by the Czech prime minister and foreign minister.

More recently, French President Nicolas Sarkozy sparked a debate about a possible French intervention in the running of the EU's business during the Czech term at the bloc's helm, when he suggested setting up an "economic government" of the 15-strong eurozone (plus Slovakia as its 16th member as of 2009).

Insiders at the time said Mr Sarkozy was perhaps interested in leading the new body, allowing him in effect to remain at the bloc's steering wheel instead of the Czech presidency taking over the task, but he strongly denied such speculations.

EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs

The EU parliament might allow an extra 24 hours for EU heads of government to first come up with the new EU leadership names. Meanwhile, EPP lead candidate Manfred Weber is meeting Angela Merkel and AKK in Berlin for backing.

Additional summit over top EU jobs looms

It's quicker to elect the pope than to agree on the new EU leadership, quipped the Irish prime minister at the start of the EU summit - which may end only with another summit soon to pick the top jobs.

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