United Islands: Presidency and beer barrel handed over to Sweden

On Saturday evening, the United Islands Festival – one of the Czech Presidency’s closing events – hosted a happening during which the Czech Republic informally handed the Presidency over to Sweden.

A boat, with Czech Minister for European Affairs Štefan Füle and Senator and former Vice PM Alexandr Vondra at the oars, sailed out on the Vltava from the Střelecký Island in the centre of Prague. On board they brought an oak barrel made for this particular occasion filled with Pilsner Urquell – the official beer of the whole of the Czech Presidency. Another boat carrying the Chargé d´Affaires of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Sweden, Rolf Ericsson, sailed towards them from the opposite bank and, watched by hundreds of onlookers, took the barrel on board.

“We believe that for the Presidency to be transferred to Sweden smoothly and without any major turbulence, our Swedish colleagues ought to refresh themselves with Czech beer, at least in the days to come”, remarked European Affairs Minister Štefan Füle.

“We have been handed over this “Presidency relay baton” and will transport it to the seat of the Government in Stockholm as soon as possible. We still have ten days. Our officials who had an occasion to see Prague under the Czech Presidency during the exercise of their duties will certainly remember this beautiful city”, said Chargé D´Affaires Rolf Ericsson, speaking about the happening.

This year’s United Islands Festival was the closing event of the accompanying cultural programme of the Czech Presidency. It staged performances by some 100 bands from 20 countries. The festival was founded in 2004 to mark the accession of the Czech Republic to the European Union. Over the subsequent five years, it grew into the No. 1 outdoor cultural event in Prague.

The United Islands Festival has already won repute as an international festival well-known in the Czech Republic as well as abroad. “Our ambition is to promote the Czech Republic and particularly Prague as a place where people keep coming back to enjoy an experience. This is why we will start working on next year’s festival almost immediately. We are looking forward to seeing you next year”, said United Islands director Martin Voňka.


  • Michaela Jelínková, spokesperson of the Minister for European Affairs
  • tel.: +420 224 002 796, mobile: +420 724 258 939; e-mail: jelinkova.michaela@vlada.cz

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Last update: 16.8.2011 15:18

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