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On 9 May 1950 the first move towards the creation of what is now known as the European Union was made. 35 years later, it was decided to celebrate 9 May as Europe Day during the Milan Summit of EU leaders in 1985. Every country which democratically chooses to accede to the European Union endorses its fundamental values of peace and solidarity. Building on the tradition of the past five years, the European Union Delegation to Armenia has been organising Europe Day events to celebrate this day of peace and unity in Armenia.
Celebrations for Europe Day 2016 began four weeks ago. Representatives of the EU Delegation to Armenia has visited five Armenian marzes, held official meetings, and organised open air concerts.
ARS_6813On 5 June 2016, the celebrations concluded in the capital, Yerevan. This festive day started with a unique lunch – Armenian youth was invited to meet and question the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, and EU member state ambassadors to Armenia and other EU officials. More than 100 young Armenians engaged in free discussion and asked questions on political, economic, cultural, social and migration-related topics. They enjoyed the barbecue menu, which included specialties from various European countries. The opening speech was the only formal part of the meeting, during which Ambassador Świtalski praised the gathering, saying it constituted the strong European family and showed Europe’s transparency and willingness to engage in dialogue.
13346835_1035811306472798_8887167691014478623_nAfter the lunch, all the ambassadors and participants walked to the opening of the Europe Day Information Fair on Northern Avenue. The fair showcased current EU-funded projects, with a special emphasis on information and activities for young Armenians. Ambassador Świtalski opened the event: ‘Today is the culmination of Europe Day celebrations, which we started in Vanadzor, then continued in Gyumri, Gavar, Kapan, and Goris. This information fair is about providing possibilities to learn more about the projects and activities of the EU and its member states here in Armenia. There are 41 stands, where different projects are presented. The EU is the biggest donor to Armenia; every year we spend about €50 million. As you will see by visiting the stands, the spectrum of our activities is very broad. We build roads, improve solid waste management, clean water, implement agricultural projects, support SMEs, help CSOs, develop good laws, etc. However, we are not simply a charity which gives money; we are instead a friendly partner, helping Armenia to modernise itself, develop the right policies, and support government and society to build a better future. This year’s focus is youth – the future of Armenia. We want them to have quality education and good jobs, we want to help them to fulfil their aspirations and find a better future here, not abroad. You can count on us’.
ARS_7588After walking around the fair and visiting all the project stands, people went to Freedom Square to witness the start of the open air concert. The crowd was excited to meet Ambassador Świtalski, who opened the concert and awarded prizes to the winners of the special EU quiz in addition to the essay and video competitions “Europe4Youth, Youth4Europe”, before passing the floor to the Armenian artists.
IMG_2266Yet, the biggest surprise was a special guest star from Spain – Lara Taylor. Lara Taylor is a pop singer who is notable for her unique style, combining the musical genres of electro, mainstream pop, and dubstep. Taylor has won many vocalist and music awards, performed with notable artists such as Nelly Furtado, Pitbull, Avicii, and more. She was accompanied by the popular Spanish DJ Manuel Galey. In an interview, Lara told us how excited she was for having been invited to perform: ‘The concert was just amazing, people here are so warm, full of love, energy, and emotions. I was so surprised to see posters with my name in the crowd because I had no idea I had Armenian fans! I have toured in many countries, but have never visited this region before. I’ll bring all the smiles with me to Spain and will come back here for sure. When my manager told me that I was flying to Yerevan for a concert, I thought he was joking, but I am so happy that I visited this beautiful country’.
The EU Delegation to Armenia has promised to surprise Armenian audiences with new ideas and new events for upcoming Europe Day celebrations.

Europe Day Celebrations in Armenia became an established tradition. Every year Armenians have had an opportunity to learn more about the EU-funded projects implemented in Armenia, take part in the events oraganised within the framework of the Europe Day Information Week, as well as familiarise with the European culture. Sunday, 24 May – the closing day of the information week – was full of events, fun and surprises.
Young people had a great opportunity to meet, ask and discuss questions with the European Ambassadors! Ambassadors and diplomatic representatives from the EU Member States as well as the Head of the EU Delegation to 10568889_848486015205329_1331932510936320309_nArmenia Traian Hristea took part in the “Lunch with Ambassadors”.
The lunch was organised in a non-formal setting to ensure a friendly atmosphere and an active participation. During the lunch, participants walked around freely and interacted with the ambassadors, discussing matters they were interested in. The lunch area was decorated in accordance with member states’ culture and cuisine.
Ambassador Hristea made an opening of the event and later all the Ambassadors introduced themselves. “It is more informal event that leads us to the opening of the Information Fair which is continuation of our events dedicated to the Europe Day in Armenia. I would like to underline that this very informal event and you will have an opportunity to engage freely with each of us individually or in groups, as well as try some goods from our countries’ national cuisines”.
One of the participants of the lunch was Drnoyan Alexander who studied in Germany and now is back to Armenia. “I was very interested in this event because this is a unique opportunity. I did not have a chance like this before to meet Ambassadors, ask questions and learn about their rich experience. This is also a good opportunity to talk about cultures, find some similar things and learn about the differences. I think this meeting is a precious gift to all Armenian young people.
10460276_848523265201604_7049024719980838381_nAfter the meeting all the participants were invited to the Northern Avenue, where the Info Fair opening was assigned. The Information Fair was designed to host all the current EU projects to inform Armenian public of their existence, the work they have done over the years and the results these projects have produced. During the opening Ambassador Traian Hristea had his welcome speech. “Welcome to the Info Fair dedicated to EU-Armenia cooperation. On 9 May 1950 Robert Schuman called for peace and unity in Europe. Europe Day is an anniversary of Schuman’s declaration and to show how we overcome all the differences to shape our common future as well as to show our cooperation with 11264898_848522931868304_3918429605861575773_nour neighbours. This year’s celebrations are dedicated to the year of development. The Eastern Partnership summit in Riga just finished confirming once again that there is continuous interest in strong partnership with our neighbours and demonstrating our commitment to support them and their efforts towards achieving lasting peace, stability and increasing prosperity”.
1908129_848757995178131_7123434798347850042_nThe conclusion of the Info Fair took the form of a big at the Freedom Square with many artists participating both from Armenia and Europe. The EU Ambassador Train Hristea wished everybody to enjoy the concert. VJ Zyper who arrived in Armenia from France to join the celebrations of the Europe Day also took part in the concert. After his performance we had an interview and asked him about his impressions. “These people are amazing. You know I am from France, we have many big clubs, have big parties, festivals but it is nothing compared to this live concert, which is a real pleasure, real people, here you can see 100% of love, 100% of fun and this is everything. Whenever you want I will come back!”
10440994_848758505178080_8994825076634540529_nAnd all the people were waiting for the special guest of the concert – Danzel! “I had so many shows in Russia, in Kazakhstan and all over the world but this is my first time in Armenia. People here are very open, very warm and I would love to come back. The audience was great, full of energy, people were partying. My song “Pump it” was also a big hit here and everybody was singing with me. I am from Belgium and all of you are Armenians; I think it is good initiative to bring people together” – told us Danzel.
That is it for this year. See you next time on the occasion of an EU – Armenia cooperation event.