The logo of the Czech EU Presidency and its accompanying motto ‘Europe without barriers’ were officially unveiled this week in what appears to be something of a retreat from a previous message, ‘We’ll make it sweet for Europe’.
The visual identity of the upcoming presidency was unveiled to the media and the public by Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and his deputy Alexandr Vondra at a press conference at the Veletržní Palace in Prague on Wednesday (12 November).
As well as the logo, the ministers revealed a number of other designs to be used on government cars and at all official venues for the duration of the presidency, including a map of Europe, with each member state represented by their abbreviations (UK, DE and so on) displayed in national colours.
Czechs ‘like to play’…
“The unified visual identity of the Czech EU Presidency is, above all, amusing and light-hearted: definitely not boring. The same goes for the logo, which captures the nature of the Czechs: they like to play; they are original, modern and open,” said Deputy Prime Minister for EU Affairs Vondra.
Earlier this year, the Czech government had broadcast an ambiguous TV advertisement which featured sugar cubes to symbolise their EU presidency under the motto ‘We’ll make it sweet for Europe’ (EURACTIV 12/09/08).
Seeking to explain the advert, David Král of the Europeum Institute for European Policy in Prague recently suggested that “non-conformism and a certain sense of provocation have something to do with the Czech character”.
Inspired by a famous statement by Klaus, who said the Czech Republic might dissolve into the EU like a cube of sugar in a cup of tea, Král believes the government might also have chosen the symbol used in the advert to say something different. “Yes, we might dissolve, but in the end it’s the sugar that influences the final product,” he explained.
…and are certainly ‘no spoilsports’
For its part, the Czech government believes the logo and ‘Europe without barriers’ motto unveiled this week, proves that “the Czechs are no spoilsports”.
“The visual style of the Czech EU Presidency shows that the Czechs are no spoilsports, that they do not shy away from bold action, and that they have a style of their own. I think that all this will help us brighten up long meetings during our presidency,” said Deputy PM Vondra.
‘Three Es’ encapsulate presidency priorities
Prime Minister Topolánek used the occasion of the logo’s presentation to outline the priorities of his country’s EU presidency, namely the economy, energy and external relations, and insisted that his government would adopt a “flexible approach” to addressing issues of common concern.
Topolánek announced the Czech Republic’s intention to focus on the economy and particularly the European response to the financial crisis. Regarding energy, security issues and the further development of the climate and energy package feature high on his ‘to do’ list.
As for external relations, the Czech EU Presidency intends to focus on deepening the bloc’s transatlantic ties (EURACTIV 12/09/08), particularly in the wake of Barack Obama’s victory in the US presidential elections on 4 November (EURACTIV 05/11/08). Moreover, the government hopes to strengthen the Union’s eastern dimension, notably by making progress on enlargement to the Western Balkans and Croatia in particular.
The Czech EU Presidency begins on 1 January 2009.