Press Releases

7. 1. 2009 15:16

Gala night to launch the Czech Presidency of the EU

The Czech Republic launched its Presidency of the EU Council. The Czechs symbolically took over the Presidency from France in the National Theatre. The gala night entitled ‘Europe in Sweet Harmony’ was directed by the Forman Brothers.

The Prague National Theatre Orchestra conducted by Marek Ivanović entertained throughout the evening. Among the performing artists were also other personalities from the Czech cultural scene, like the actor and composer Jiří Suchý and the world-famous Bubeníček Brothers ballet duo.

European Commissioners including the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, attended the gala evening. The Czech Republic was represented by members of the government led by Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, members of Parliament and other political and cultural figures. In his opening statement the Prime Minister repeated the motto of the Czech Presidency. ‘I see Europe as a union bound by stable values as well as an open space of freedom. This is also reflected in the motto of the Czech Presidency, a Europe without Barriers.’

Later, José Manuel Barosso assured the Czech Republic that the European Commission will be instrumental in promoting the key priorities of the Presidency, i.e. the three ‘E’s: economy, energy and Europe in the world. He added that he is confident that the Czech Republic will perform its role ‘effectively and with characteristic skill and imagination’. The President of the European Commission thus referred to the European Year of Creativity and Innovation, which is celebrated this year.

The total sum paid for this evening was circa CZK 4 million. This sum covers the script, the preparation and the realisation of the evening and engagement of the artist, the choir and the orchestra of the National Theatre. A special sum was reserved to cover the live broadcast, the rent of the National Theatre and the accompanying costs. This sum will be funded from the total budget of CZK 1.9 billion reserved for 2007 – 2009 for the preparations and running of the Presidency.

Photographs from the event can be found here.

Transcription of the speech of the Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek can be found here.

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