It was a hot and steamy start to the Swedish Presidency. Putting a new spin on the institution, the Swedish Embassy launched its ‘green presidency’ with an ambassadorial bicycle ride from the Ambassador’s Residence in Marylebone to Hampstead Heath.
“We Swedes like to make you sweat – after all, we are the country that brought you IKEA,” joked EU Vice President Margot Wallstrom who joined Ambassador Staffan Carlsson and several EU heads of mission for the “alternative commute” which also coincided with the start of the Tour de France.
Giving new meaning to the phrase ‘spin doctors’ the EU ambassadors were kitted out with safety helmets and Puch bikes from Cycleurope, which were also equipped with rechargeable batteries for those who found the climb to Parliament Hill perhaps a hill too far – but Ambassador Carlsson insisted on using his own steam.
The ambassadors and their families were able to refuel with chilled beer and wine and Swedish treats in the VIP green tent before taking their front-row seats for the Sweden On Stage concert featuring Abba legend Benny Andersson and his folk band.
EU Ambassadors saddle up for their alternative commute