Legendary physical comedy character Mr. Bean, portrayed by actor Rowan Atkinson, is not the president of Europe.


But if you were looking at the Spanish Web site set up for their temporary presidency of the European Union, that fact may not have been so clear.

That's because a piece of European hacktivism saw a photo of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero replaced with an image of Atkinson on the EU presidency's official Web site.

In Spain, the similarity in appearance between the two men has been a running joke for years, according to reports.

The hack came during Spain's launch of the site, meant to reassure EU members that the rotating presidency is in good hands with Zapatero.

"The parody became an instant internet hit, with Spaniards flocking to visit their new leader," The Guardian reported. "'So many people were looking for Mr Bean that [the site] collapsed during the afternoon,' admitted a source at Zapatero's Moncloa Palace offices."

"A recent edition of leading newspaper El Pais printed a cartoon depicting Zapatero as Mr Bean above an article critical of the government's handling of the economy, in which unemployment has more than doubled to about 19 percent," Reuters noted.

The Financial Times added: "Spain's presidency is the first under the Lisbon treaty, which is meant to downgrade the role of national presidencies in favour of a new, full-time president, the Belgian Herman Van Rompuy.

"Though much of the focus is on how Madrid will interact with Mr Van Rompuy, officials and journalists have been looking for indications as to how the Spanish presidency will take shape after the smoothrunning Swedish term that ended last week."

A screenshot of the hack is below, as published by newspaper El Mundo.