The New Year has been welcomed in across Europe with spectacular light and firework shows.
There were few signs of the 2008 credit crunch. In London, the traditional event took place around the London Eye and along the River Thames.The cost was more than a million euros. In Berlin, up to a million people gathered to celebrate the arrival of 2009. In Athens, anti-government protestors put aside their anger, at least temporarily, to party in Syntagma Square, the scene of some of the worst clashes in recent weeks in the Greek capital. Russians celebrated in Red Square beneath a huge fireworks display. Lithuanians had more than just the New Year party to celebrate. On the stroke of midnight it became a European Capital of Culture. The show had been well prepared by Germany’s lighting supremo Gert Hof.