Circus boss on issues caused by EU light bulb ban

The director of one of Europe’s most loved circuses has revealed how European Union (EU) regulations affect his activities.

Asked by magazine profil whether the EU’s recent ban of old-fashioned light bulbs enforced special measures at the Circus Roncalli, Bernhard Paul said: “I bought all (old version) models I could get hold of in Germany because chains of lights are an essential part of a circus. We should not run out of them before I turn 100.”

The 64-year-old businessman added: “The EU jumped the gun because the LED lamps are not as good as regular light bulbs. The new models lack the colour spectrum red. What is supposed to be red looks grey with them – a horrible situation for a circus.”

Paul added his business was challenged by the EU’s various restrictions before. “I am fully aware that Brussels cannot implement laws especially for circuses. Generally, a Europe with no border checks is a great achievement. Nevertheless, it seems to be I have to show my passport more often than in the old days,” Paul told the weekly magazine.

Paul also revealed he was a close friend of late German President Johannes Rau. The Social Democrat, who passed away in 2006, was in office between 1999 and 2004. The Circus Roncalli boss explained: “I’m a left-winger. (…) What I’m upset about are politicians’ automatisms if someone makes a good proposal. They don’t think about whether an idea is good. All they do is oppose it. That is one of the reasons I am not member of any political party.”

Asked whether he casts his vote in elections, the Austrian – who has been on the road with his circus for 35 years – explained: “It’s the same with church services. I’m a Catholic and I go to church occasionally, not always.”

Speaking to profil, Paul also launched a withering attack on a world-famous rival. Paul said he was convinced that circuses will always exist. Referring to booming video platform YouTube, he argued: “Circuses have to offer dreams and illusions to people – which is something YouTube cannot do. A modern circus like Cirque du Soleil lacks a touch of romance, what they do has no soul. If circuses were cafés, Roncalli would be the (tradition-rich Viennese café) Hawelka while they (Cirque du Soleil) would be (US coffeehouse chain) Starbucks.”