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The Albacete Museum of Cutlery turns celebratory blue



Compiled by Jack Wright

The presidency of the Council of the European Union (informally, the Council) is not synonymous with the president of the European Council (Charles Mitchel).  The European Council brings together the heads of state and government of the Member States, the permanent president of the European Council (Mitchel), and the president of the European Commission (Ursula von der Leyen), and is responsible for setting the political guidelines of the EU.

The Council of the EU is the name given to meetings of the ministers of the Member States. The presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates among the twenty-seven EU member states every six months. During this period, the presidency chairs meetings at every level in the Council, helping to ensure the continuity of the EU’s work within the Council and the smooth running of the EU legislative process. The government ministers from each EU country meet to discuss, amend and adopt legislative measures and coordinate policies. Together with the European Parliament, the Council has legislative and budgetary functions and is responsible for policy coordination.

The Council, which adopts EU laws and coordinates EU policies, is the “voice” of the governments of the EU member states. It is made up of government ministers the policy of whose respective areas will be under discussion in a meeting. For example, if the meeting is a Financial Council meeting, it will be chaired by the Minister for Finance of the country holding the presidency.

Europa Building, seat of the European Council and the Council of the European Union, Brussels

Spain’s presidency started off on 1 July and will come to a close on 31 December 2023. Its motto, “Europe, closer,” underscores Spain’s commitment to advancing European unity, bringing citizens closer to those EU decisions that affect their day-to-day lives.

Under its presidency, Spain is making

  • the reindustrialization of the EU,
  • progress in the green transition,
  • the promotion of social and economic justice, and
  • the strengthening of European unity

its priority.

Quite cognizant of the implications of its presidency, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on social media: “Spain takes on this challenge [of its presidency] with a great sense of responsibility and with a very clear objective: the unity of all Europeans.”

Valladolid City Hall

On their own initiative, the twenty-two provincial capitals of the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP), have lit up the façades of their town halls, iconic monuments and buildings in blue, the color of the European flag. It was a visual symbol of the Spanish presidency’s enthusiastic commitment to the European Union.

Among the cities that have joined the FEMP light-up initiative are Valladolid, with the façade of the City Hall and the Millennium Dome; Vigo, with the Aragon Fountains and the Pergola in the Plaza de América; and Logroño, which has lit up the Puerta del Revellín, the Stone Bridge and the Murrieta Fountain.

These three cities will host some of the 23 ministerial meetings of the Council during the presidency of Spain.

For its part, Toledo has seen to it that the façade of the City Hall, the Alcántara Bridge, the tower of the Baño de la Cava, and the façade of the Government Delegation on the Zocodover square are awash with European blue.

Cathedral of Leon

Palma de Mallorca chose to light up its Bellver Castle, while León welcomed the Spanish presidency by lighting up the Consistory of San Marcelo, the Cathedral,  and the fountain in the Plaza de Santo Domingo.

In Santiago de Compostela, the Pazo de Raxoi has turned blue. Cáceres, Pamplona, Barcelona, San Sebastián, Gijón and Valencia have taken part, lighting up their city halls. Murcia wouldn’t be outdone; the Almudí Palace, the Mone building, the Murcia Río area, and the Paseo de  Alfonso X El Sabio have sported the color.

Barcelona City Hall

So has Seville with the fountain of the Glorieta Don Juan de Austria, as has Granada with the façade of its city hall. Tarragona has chosen to pour blue light on the City Hall Square, the Torre dels Vents, and Espai Jove Kesse.

The island of Gran Canaria has illuminated the façade of its city hall. Albacete has done the same with three of its monuments: the City Hall, the Municipal Museum, and the Cutlery Museum.

The beautiful monument of Cybele, the Great Mother of the Gods in Greek mythology, on one of Madrid’s must-visit plazas, has been equally draped in blue.


Meeting venues of the Council



Buildings in blue:

Presidency of the Council of the European Union:,EU’s%20work%20in%20the%20Council.

Spain presidency:

Council of the European Union:


Buildings in blue, including featured image ©FEMP, reuse authorized via Spanish Presidency website
Europa/Samynandpartners, CC BY-SA4.0 via Wikimedia Commons