For this first summit meeting in the flesh for nearly 5 months, delegations have been limited to 5 people, against a score previously.
Sitting at a good distance from each other, 24 men and 5 women masked : not a secret society but at a summit of european Union leaders in Brussels, at the time of the sars coronavirus.
To warm up the atmosphere somewhat strange, the 27 heads of State and government, chaired by the chairman of the board Charles Michel and joined by the president of the european Commission Ursula von der Leyen, had two birthdays to celebrate: those of the Portuguese Prime minister Antonio Costa (59 years) and German chancellor Angela Merkel (age 66).
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Their peers had not forgotten the gifts. For the chancellor, bottles of white burgundy from Emmanuel Macron, belgian chocolates offered by Charles Michel, a fiasque money rose oil of Bulgaria by the president of this country, Boyko Borissov, and a German translation of the novel "blindness" of the Nobel Prize in literature, Portuguese writer José Saramago, given by the leader, Antonio Costa. With regard to the Austrian Sebastian Kurz, he had to offer a sweet gift, a "Sachertorte", the famous cake viennese chocolate.
Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron at the EU summit in Brussels on Friday 17 July 2020 (Photo by STEPHANIE LECOCQ / POOL / AFP)
STEPHANIE LECOCQ / POOL / AFP
The chancellor has handed over to his Portuguese counterpart Costa a fac-simile of a map of the 17th century in Goa, a former colony of Portugal which are from his ancestors, and the catalogue of an exhibition on the Portuguese navigators, while Macron has given him a table.
The Portuguese Prime minister has himself enjoyed each of his colleagues...a kit Covid-19 custom with masks of different colors. Xavier Bettel has released bottles of crémant from the cellar of the Grand Duchy for Merkel and Costa, not to mention the First Danish minister Mette Frederiksen who comes to remarry.
No gift of the share of the Finns, however, who are by their positions close to the 4 States said "frugal" (Austria, the netherlands, Sweden and Denmark).
The "check" of the elbow of rigour
Little fantasy on the side masks, the majority of white, blue, or black. The Prime minister of the Grand Duchy Xavier Bettel sported a protective embroidered with the word "Moien" (hello in Luxembourgish) in the national colours (red, white, blue). A mask properly adjusted gave to the Bulgarian Prime minister Boyko Borissov, a small reminder to the order of the chancellor, who has pointed his finger at the nose of his interlocutor, which was beyond the fabric.
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For this first summit meeting in the flesh for nearly 5 months, delegations have been limited to 5 persons, as against twenty before, and the "check" of the elbow was mandatory. A number of leaders of the countries of the East, including the Hungarian Viktor Orban and Czech Andrej Babis, however, have broken the rules, not hesitating to shake hands.
The president of the european Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the Prime minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel is "checked" the elbow at the EU summit this Friday, July 17 (Photo by STEPHANIE LECOCQ / POOL / AFP)
STEPHANIE LECOCQ / POOL / AFP
The large room where stands the european council has never probably been as clean : it was disinfected thoroughly and the tables of the council, as the chairs have been moved by the staff, the hands gloved in latex.
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The distances between each leader have been measured to meet a gap of about two meters. The windows were sprayed disinfectant, the screens cleaned. Just like the kits with headphones for the translations which the individual packets were marked "clean and safe equipment disinfected".