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The European Union (EU) has been celebrating Europe Day within its borders for the last 65 years. It all began on 9 May 1950, when Robert Schuman called for the unification of Europe to make war on the continent impossible and spread peace and prosperity globally. During these 65 years, the EU has known the most prosperous, united and peaceful period in its history.
Armenia joins in the Europe Day celebrations every year – this year is a no exception. Europe Day celebrations include various informative events that showcase EU-Armenia close cooperation and partnership, as well as European cultural diversity. The decision was made to start the celebrations in Armenia not in the capital, but in the regions, and then bring them to Yerevan. The festivities began on 16 May in Vanadzor (the third largest city in Armenia). In the morning Vanadzor hosted Italian artist Fabio Zanino, who gave a masterclass, on creation of art from waste materials and rubbish. Vanadzor residents were surprised by this approach, stating that they had not had such an experience before.
10406696_845271502193447_2725293204125903595_nTraian Hristea, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, which is organising the events, and other ambassadors of EU Member States arrived in Vanadzor to join in the celebrations. Ambassador Hristea’s welcome speech opened the information fair on EU-funded projects being implemented in Armenia: ‘Over the years, Europe Day has become a symbol of peace, unity and the European values that we all share. We are devoted to supporting our neighbours in their efforts to enhance the stability and the prosperity in their region. This year the celebrations are dedicated to the European year for development. The motto of this year is “our world, our dignity, our future”. This is a great opportunity to talk about EU-Armenia cooperation and partnership. The Eastern Partnership summit in Riga that will take place in only in few days, on 21-22 May, should further confirm our continuous interest in a strong partnership with our neighbours and to demonstrate our commitment to supporting them in their efforts towards achieving lasting peace, political stability and increased prosperity’.
11221361_845269475526983_1959337283288225741_nDuring the information fair, Hristea, along with his colleagues, went through the programmes and talked to the representatives of the implementing organisations. Later, he attended the opening ceremony of a photo-exhibition by documentary photographer Maciek Nabrdalik. The latter had been invited to Armenia to give masterclasses to Armenian photographers and improve their skills. The results of these workshops were printed and exhibited.
11268969_845332892187308_2348483859051012507_nYet another event was held in Vanadzor on the central square – a concert dedicated to Europe Day that was widely attended and enjoyed by local residents.
The baton of Europe Day celebrations was passed from Vanadzor to Gyumri on 17 May. The morning started with the art, colours and creativity of Fabio Zanino’s masterclass with participants from Gyumri. Another information fair was opened by Ambassador Hristea, at which EU ambassadors, the Mayor of Gyumri and other officials were present: ‘The European Union and Armenia have committed to further developing and strengthening their bilateral relations in cooperation, to develop their cooperation in areas like human rights and democracy, education, culture, poverty reduction, justice reforms, migration, agriculture, trade, and others. This cooperation and assistance is substantial – we are investing €45 million almost every year in activities which benefit Armenian citizens. Here at the information fair you can see just the tip of the iceberg of our cooperation with Armenia’.
1520633_845797812140816_3210661893546777311_nCultural events marking the Europe Day in Gyumri continued with the “100 portraits” exhibition at “Still” Museum of Fine Arts. After the exhibition, all the participants gathered on the central square to have fun and celebrate Europe Day together. The residents of Gyumri found the day unique, as the weather held and had resisted its seasonal characteristic of heavy rain – the atmosphere had been so warm that even the sky had not wanted to interrupt people dancing in the square.