Cities Standing for Europe

Segolene Pruvot

By Segolene Pruvot, on May 16th, 2013

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The 9th of May is Europe’s Day. It celebrates the famous historical declaration on the 9th of May 1950 by Robert Schuman, French Foreign Minister at the time, in which he proposed the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community. In this discourse, he foreseaw a larger Union: “It may be the leaven from which may grow a wider and deeper community between countries long opposed to one another by sanguinary divisions.”

Today the celebrations take various forms and cities have been planning activities to bring Europe to the fore for one day and stimulate encounters of their inhabitants with the European Ideals, Cultures, actors and institutions.

The city where I live, Paris, invests every year in a two days celebration on the Paris Town Hall inviting passers-by to ‘Make Europe’ (Faites l’Europe).

Musicians and theatre actors invest an open air stage and two big tents offer the opportunity to meet up either with the European Institutions, to learn a bit about the countries holding the next presidencies of the European Council (and taste some delicacies such as this year the famous Portuguese pastry “pasteis de nata”)

This raised my interest… and I wondered what other European cities had planned and more specifically what URBACT cities had planned.

Barcelona: Lights and invitations citizens to discuss with their representatives at the European Parliament

The city of Barcelona changes programme every year according to URBACT National Dissemination Point in Spain, Ecosistema Urbano.

Among the activities this year: A very European Lighting of one of its emblematic high rise building (by Jean Nouvel) the Agbar Tower (Here is the Lighting in picture and video).

There were also meetings with Members of the European Parliament to discuss democracy, representation and participation in Europe.
Barcelona is the lead partner of the URBACT Markets project but I have not seen anything about food in the Europe Day celebration programme ( in Catalan).


Bologna: Celebrations of other cultures and Languages

The city of Bologna – member of the URBACT Project Creative Spin on the links between cultural and creative industries makes of Europe’s Day a cultural celebration.

For instance, it invites the inhabitants on the beautiful Neptune Square to see exhibitions about Marseille, the European Capital of Culture 2013 (together with Kosice in Slovakia) and to language tandems. Also in the programme concerts and a big scrabble game.

Nantes : on the 15th of May!

The city of Nantes, lead partner of the URBACT project PREVENT focused on early school leaving, has celebrated Europe Day… yesterday!

On the 15th of May it proposed a full programme (in French) including art exhibition dance and installations to better fight against discriminations.

There are many more examples to investigate… I hope our readers will help us to discover them!

Ségolène Pruvot

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