HM Queen Elizabeth II​ - Rest In Peace

Sweden passes the EU Presidency to Spain

  January 13, 2010 at 4:35 am by

On January 8, Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain, accompanied by the Prince and Princess of Asturias, attended the gala of the official handing over of the presidency of the European Union’s council from Sweden to Spain, which will be held for the next six months.

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The Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt, the Spanish Minister for Culture, Ángeles González-Sinde, and members of the European Commission also were in attendance.

The gala took place at the Royal Theatre in Madrid, with the performances of Tamara Rojo and Maria Pagés, ballet and flamenco dancers respectively, and the Spanish National Choir. The repertoire of Tamara Rojo included ‘Carmen’ by George Bizet, with choreography by Roland Petit, and ‘Don Quijote’ by Marius Petipa, with music by Ludwig Minkus. María Pagés performed three of her own dances with music provided by members of her company. At the end of the performance they joined by the Spanish National Choir to sing the European anthem.

“The baton of the Presidency is not only going to pass from my country, in the north, to your country, in the south of our Europe, it is passing from one era of European integration to the next,” Bildt said, who spoke at the gala as well as Zapatero, who said that the “curtains are now opening on a new period for the European Union. We must approach this period with enthusiasm and renewed confidence in our ability to meet the challenges of the future.”

Once the gala had ended, thousands of blue balloons were released into the Madrid sky, and the nearly 1,500 guests enjoy of a cocktail reception organized by the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy consisting of Spanish products as Rioja’s wines, cavas, Cheese, smoked fish, and pure acorn-fed Iberian ham.

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