Europe Day 2020: together in distance to celebrate 70 years of European solidarity
Europe Day 2020 was different: there were no open-door events, large social gatherings or open-air concerts. And yet, we were all together in distance. Celebrated under the unprecedented circumstances imposed on us by this global pandemic, the greatest challenge facing the EU since its inception, it was a day to reflect on the true spirit of this date.
“As someone who has lived through European history with all its ups and downs, I am convinced we should think as big and as creatively as Schuman – and act in that spirit”, wrote the High Representative Josep Borrell in blog post to mark the date.
70 years ago, on 9 May 1950, the French foreign minister Robert Schuman set out his vision of a peaceful and united Europe in the Schuman Declaration, a powerful statement that initiated the process of European integration. Born out of the ashes of World War II, the European Union has walked a long and winding road throughout the last decades: growing from 6 members to 27 today, from a coal and steel community to a common market and a political Union, but without ever losing sight of its original principles: peace and democracy, transcending history, international solidarity and open borders.
On Europe Day 2020, millions of EU citizens staying at home came together online to celebrate European values and enjoy the wide range of activities organized by the EEAS and the EU Delegations around the world.
At our Ambassadors’ corner, citizens had the chance to ask their questions live to the EU Ambassadors to New Zealand, South Korea, Niger, Ukraine, Turkey, Jordan, Argentina and the United States, who gave an enlightening insight into what entails to represent the EU in the world. Participants also had the chance to take a virtual ride around the globe through dozens of cultural events celebrating European values, from music concerts to art and movie contests, didactic webinars and a special quiz testing your knowledge on the EU.
The European anthem, Ode to Joy, was played in Tokyo by jazz pianist George Nagata; in India, by a virtual orchestra; in Austria, in Morocco, in Guinea Bissau, in Uzbekistan… All the musicians, needless to say, played safely from home. Movie lovers had a virtual date with the IX EuroFilmFest (#HomeStay edition), which offered 12 European feature films and 8 short films for free.
The Empire State Building (New York,US), the Burk Khalifa tower (Dubai, UAE), Telstra Tower (Canberra, Australia) or the Niagara Falls (Canada) were only some of the world´s iconic places that dressed up in European colours on this atypical 9th of May that we lived together, but in distance.
Europe Day is only a symbolic date, but it is up to us to keep it alive throughout the year. In the European External Action Service, and in all EU institutions, we work hard to bring up 9th May every day in our job, because the values we celebrate are the ones that drive our work all over the world, and they will continue to do so, especially now in these difficult times.