As with previous presidencies, Hungary wishes to offer a memorable stay for state executives, diplomats and professionals. What else could serve this ambition more than souvenirs that encapsulate Hungarian science, creativity and aesthetic sense? Minister of State for EU Affairs, Enikő Győri, and Government Commissioner, Ferenc Robák, presented the souvenirs at a press conference in Budapest on 28 January.
Ms Győri and Mr Robák both were wearing a scarf and a tie respectively, gifts of the Presidency, when presenting journalists the souvenirs which the Presidency will give to visitors at the Hungarian events. Ms Győri said, “The beautiful and exciting souvenirs are meant to strengthen Hungary’s creative and youthful image. It was an important consideration that the presents should be practical but modest. We don’t give wine, because many arrive with compact-size luggage as carry-on baggage, and the flight regulations ban liquids on board”.
Beneficial effects on tourism
During the sixth months of the Hungarian Presidency, the country will host about 250 events. Traditionally, each member state holding the EU’s Presidency, gives presents to visiting delegation members. These items are not only distributed as a friendly gesture but also as means to popularise the Presidency all over Europe.
According to the State Tourist Marketing Organisation’s forecast, the Hungarian Presidency could produce a 5 percent growth in conference tourism alone, and visitors are estimated to spend about 3.4 billion forints (some 12.5 million euros at currency rates at the end of January 2011) in Hungary, during the next six months. The Hungarian Presidency’s ambition, is to make the touristic benefits reach beyond the period ending in June; and to give those visiting Hungary on account of the Presidency an image of the country which will prompt them to return as individuals at a later stage.
Modest and economical
This gave priority to content in the selection of the Hungarian Presidency’s souvenirs, but saving also played a role in the current situation of global economy. In a press conference organised for the presentation of souvenirs, Ms Győri said,”Being economical was a key aspect in giving presents, so we consider it important that each person gets only one gift; all stationery used, will also be given away as souvenirs, including folders, note blocks, exercise books and other items.’
”The Presidency has a tight budget, and orders of souvenirs were made to low-cost producers by public procurement”, stressed Ferenc Robák. He added that ever since the Lisbon Treaty came into effect, presidencies have tended to give more and more modest souvenirs to their visitors.
Souvenirs of a major value, are only given to heads of state and government visiting Hungary. VIP packages consist of a pair of tea cup and saucer, made of Herendi porcelain, manufactured for the Presidency, a Herendi pin, a crimson or green tie or scarf and an elegant laser pointer pen.
Vitamin C candy, an absolute favourite
An outstanding souvenir, is a box of Hungarian inventions, including Vitamin C candies, a dynamo torch, a ballpoint pen, and a flash drive decorated with traditional Easter motives, which represent Hungarian ingenuity. The box designed for ministers visiting Hungary, includes a bilingual booklet which presents the inventors. The Presidency’s creative professionals placed a hologram on the booklet, which is another Hungarian invention. The absolute favourite is the Vitamin C candy, snapped up by visitors at the informal meetings held so far in Gödöllő. “Everybody will be very healthy during the Hungarian Presidency’s term”, Ms Győri said in jest.
Other state executives and professionals will receive symbolic souvenirs: a Rubik’s Cube, a CD of Franz Liszt’s selected works, pens and other promotional accessories. Presents will be distributed mainly in Hungary, while other souvenirs will only be given to working committees in Brussels.
Children’s drawings in promotional package
The Presidency not only wants the souvenirs to convey a cultural message, but also to raise awareness of youth and children, therefore, the promotional packages also include framed children’s drawings, submitted to the ‘My Message to Europe’ school competition; which was launched last December. Teachers asked students to make pictures of their expectations from Europe’s leaders. Ms Győri said at the press conference that the competition is still open for applications. She revealed that the drawings are real masterpieces and she already has some personal favourites at her ministry office.