[credit provider=”AP/Jens Dresling”]
Being a European diplomat just got a lot less luxurious.With the beginning of the Danish EU presidency on January 1, a wave of cost-cutting measures have been introduced to combat the financial crisis. The first perk to go: expensive bottled water and juice for delegates and politicians has been replaced by jugs of tap water, Die Welt reported.
It has earned the Danes the nickname of the “tap water presidency”.
Other measures include giving fewer gifts to dignitaries and using more public transport than the usual gas-guzzling limousines and private cars to ferry diplomats.
Such penny-pinching may seem trivial, but Denmark has ambitious plans to set an example of fiscal responsibility. It has budgeted 35 million euros ($45 million) for its six-month presidency term. That may seem like a lot, but it’s not even a third of what its predecessor Poland spent: 115 million euros ($148 million), according to EUObserver.
“We are very cost-efficient in Denmark, so we want an efficient presidency at a low cost,” Danish EU affairs minister Nicolai Wammen told a group of Brussels-based journalists in Copenhagen, according to EUObserver.
The cost-efficiency doesn’t stop there. Ingredients in the meals served to dignitaries come from Denmark itself, rather than being imported. Not only is this cheaper, but as an added plus, the practice is more environmentally friendly as well.