The Bratislava EU summit also brought curiosities

The summit of leaders of the European Union brought, apart from foreseeable and expected outcomes, also some memorable curiosities.

Joint official photo of EU leaders at the Bratislava summit.Joint official photo of EU leaders at the Bratislava summit. (Source: TASR)

The first surprising fact was that the leaders of the European Union sailed on the Danube under a German flag – as the ship that took them on a cruise along the Bratislava centre, Regia Danubia, navigates under the German flag, the Sme daily wrote. At a time when several analysts consider Germany the dominant country of the EU, journalists asked whether this gesture was symbolic.

The river voyage caused all Bratislava bridges to be closed for some time, as well as complicating the job of interpreters. As organisers failed to arrange electronic devices, interpreters had to sit close to the politicians and whisper in their ears.

When one looks at the “family photo” of the EU leaders’ reunion, it seems strange: organisers arranged them into three rows, and the tallest people are in the front, hiding those behind – like German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Normally, such photos are made on steps, thus balancing the differences in height.

The government had been warning people not to visit Bratislava on the day of the summit, September 16, unless absolutely necessary. Pupils and their parents were also asked to take a longer weekend [as the previous day, September 15, is a national holiday, marking the feast of the patron saint of Slovakia, Our Lady of Seven Sorrows]. This resulted in roads being totally empty; and police cars often outnumbered passenger vehicles. Cameras even recorded children playing football on an otherwise busy road.

The last curiosity concerns journalists – used to much higher standards in Brussels – who complained about conditions almost making their work impossible. Based in the Incheba complex, they were cut off from the events in Bratislava, and the weak wi-fi signal did not help, either. On the other hand, the coffee was just as bad as it is in Brussels, Sme wrote on September 19.

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