Prague - The Czech government refuses to lend one ton of gold from the central bank to the Czech pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai.
The gold was to be melted and recast into a giant drop. However, the foreign minister pulled back the proposal after the government postponed its decision on the issue and the finance ministry reacted with sharp disapproval.
Finance Minister Eduard Janota said that General Secretary for Czech Exposition at Expo 2010 Pavel Stehlík already informed him that he will try to find another solution.
This time, the Czech pavilion looks for a significantly smaller quantity of the precious metal. „It will be only a fragment of the planned weight," said Prime Minister Jan Fischer. „Everything will be on a private basis, neither the government nor the Czech central bank will take a part in it," he said.
The giant drop is a brainchild of a Czech-Argentinian artist Federic Díaz. The Expo visitors were supposed to look at it from a specially designed „sensory" chair that would record his emotional reactions and project them into colors, shapes and smells.
Finance ministry: Risky business
After the end of the fair, the drop was to be melted and recast back into gold bars. However, the finance ministry was concerned that the gold returned to the central bank would differ from the gold it had lent.
Some statements made by Jiří Potužník, the spokesman of the Czech pavilion at Expo 2010, confirmed that this scenario was really an option. Potužník said to the media that it was possible that the drop would be put up for auction, and the central bank would get different gold.
However, Díaz refused this, saying that they never planned to sell the drop.
Currently, the Czech central bank possesses roughly 13 tons of gold. One ton equals approximately CZK 700 million (EUR 28 million).
"Crossroads of ideas and cultures"
In total, the Czech pavilion has a budget of CZK 500 million. Aktuálně.cz asked the general director of the Czech pavilion, Pavel Stehlík, about what can be expected from it.
„We want to present the Czech Republic as a sort of crossroads of ideas, cultures, people, technologies, and the Czechs as a nation that uses its natural creativity to reshape all these flows into real fruits of the civilization. We are convinced that our cities protect the fruits of the civilization," said Pavel Stehlík.
At the entrance to the exposition will be a large, twisted white ribbon, 4 meters wide and 20 meters long.
Also, for the first time in history, Expo will be on-line, including the Czech pavilion, so even those who will not have a chance to attend the show in person will be able to see the exhibits - at least in their virtual form, says Stehlík.