Prague - Scarf, ties, umbrellas, pens, notebooks, candies and USB flash disks - that all in a unified design will be given out during the Czech Republic's presidency of the European Union.
The Czech Republic will take EU presidency over from France in seven months; currently it is in hands of another new member state Slovenia.
Who will receive the Czech presents during the six months of its presidency? Czech and foreign politicians, journalists and officials. The final design has not been set yet, a public contest has been already launched though.
The amount available for all the goodies will be 28 million crowns. The winner will have to produce, print and distribute the presents all around its potential recipients.
Contest for all
"It is a rewarding way to bring a nice and practical souvenir of the Czech presidency to foreign meeting participants, journalists and citizens," Alexandr Vondra, the Czech deputy minister for European Affairs.
The company that wins the contest will be obliged to start working on the presents in July but the logo which will decorate all of the souvenirs will not be known until the very last moment.
The reason is the fact that there is another separate public contest for the logo itself, its image will be first released right before the presidency starts.
And finally one more separate public contest is organized for companies that wish to produce ties and scarves, protocol presents, that will be given out to members of foreign delegations. Jana Hendrichová who is in charge of organizing the Czech presidency says that "traditional and high quality products by Czech companies will be preferred".
Melted butter and plain stickers
Gifts and PR materials are a popular method how to bring often dry political topics of the presidency. Not everything goes smooth though. For example, the Irish decided in 2004 to give politicians traditional butter as a present which melted on the way back home. Austrians two years ago on the other hand did not manage to print the logo on all of the presents so instead of a printed logo, porcelain cups were garnished with a plain sticker.
Not all the countries though are so much into giving presents. In 2005, British were generous only towards the politicians. Geoff Meade, a British journalist with The Daily Telegraph agreed with his country's decision:" "The sight of the entire European press corps laden down with sides of smoked salmon, bottles of Irish whiskey, mugs and double CDs of lute music from the Netherlands seemed a little inappropriate."
One of the British officials explained for the Daily Telegraph: "It was getting ridiculous. Every presidency was trying to outbid the next in the present market. The last one [the Luxembourg presidency] gave out MP3 players."