Swedish Royals help to ring in Swedish EU Presidency

  July 2, 2009 at 8:13 am by

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia were on hand for national duty and pride yesterday morning, when they helped to kick off the six-month Swedish Presidency of the European Union.

Ready for the photocall, Carl Gustaf and Silvia (dressed in a vibrant orange suit) tried to descend the staircase outside the Royal Palace of Stockholm, but found the stairs already occupied by multiple government members who had been invited. No harm was done, with the pair eventually getting to the front of the group and posing for photos with Swedish Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt, President Jose Manuel Barroso of the European Commission, and various Swedish MPs to celebrate the Swedish EU Presidency, which began yesterday July 1st – 18 years to the day after Sweden lodged its European Union membership application, as pointed out by Prime Minister Reinfeldt. Reinfeldt now also holds the title of Council President in the EU.

The celebrations continued in the evening, with an outdoor concert held in Skansen. This was attended by the King and Queen, Princess Madeleine and one of the King’s sisters, Princess Christina. The evening began with the transfer of a glass baton from the Czech Minister for EU Affairs, Stefan Füle, to his Swedish counterpart, Cecilia Malmström.

Several speeches were made after that, including one by Prime Minister Reinfeldt and one by President Barroso. Barroso spoke of his confidence in the Swedish presidency during his speech: “I know that Sweden’s professionalism, competence and true European spirit will guide a very successful next six months.”

Musical performances were also a major part of the event, with performances by the Stockholm Sinfonietta, the Gustaf Sjökvist Chamber Choir and Sofia Jannok. Dressed in traditional Swedish costumes, the Carl Olof Berg Dance Group presented an amusing dance for their elite audience. Sweden will hand over the Presidency of the EU to Spain on January 1st, 2010.

Click here to read about the King and Queen’s current events, and here to read about the Royal Family’s current events.

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