Wednesday

17th Aug 2022

EU begins countdown to 50th birthday carnival

  • Slovenian parachutists will celebrate the EU's birthday their way (Photo: europa.eu)

Member states are gearing themselves up to varying degrees of festivity this week as the EU approaches its 50th birthday, with projects ranging from a Franco-German love film to prayers for the bloc.

With Germany currently running the EU, Berlin will be putting on the biggest show to mark the half century anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome planning a big cultural programme including all night openings of some of the city's famous museums.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

At the city's clubs, meanwhile, people will be able to dance in the EU's birthday with 27 venues throwing an all-night rave from Saturday to the early hours of Sunday morning.

EU leaders, also in Berlin for the birthday celebrations, will hear Beethoven's 5th Symphony by the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra.

They will then have a banquet on the Saturday evening set to be overloaded at the dessert end of the meal when 54 birthday cakes will be on display - two traditional cakes from each member state, including sheep's cheese strudel from Bulgaria, Ireland's "Auntie Florence's Orange Cake" and waffles from Belgium.

There should be enough apple cake for all though as it features in some variation in the traditional gateaux from Romania, Estonia, Luxembourg and Denmark.

Away from Berlin and cake eating, there will also be several other events going on.

Rome will be host to a youth summit. A gathering of 200 young people, who plan to hold their own European Council to mirror the one in Berlin, but are likely to indulge in less bickering in the run up to the summit on what the state of the union is.

Brussels, as the capital of the EU, will gather jazz musicians from around Europe to play all day on Sunday while for the night before it seems to have organised a line-up of Europe's best ageing stars for a "memorable pop music concert." Among those playing include Nana Mouskouri, Kim Wilde and The Scorpions.

And the rest

Several projects fall into what could be called the 'other' category such as France's Franco-German romance film - "about after war and the European construction; a mix of great History and romance."

In Luxembourg, there will be an 8km "European walk" while in Ireland and the Netherlands church services will mark the Treaty of Rome.

Slovakia is to plant trees to celebrate the EU; in Slovenia people will jump out of planes using parachutes with EU symbols and in Spain's Madrid a giant puzzle of Europe will be built.

And there must be some mention of the projects that didn't make it.

A proposal for an EU-wide dance was dropped for its cringe potential but also because new member states said it reminded them of Soviet times. And some have already taken place, including the UK's football match last week between Manchester United and a 'Europe Team.' 'Europe' narrowly lost (4-3) to United.

EU tries for stake in football popularity

A "European" football team is to play Manchester United on Tuesday kicking off celebrations of the EU's 50th birthday, with the European Commission angling for a fraction of the popularity seen by the world's favourite sport.

Finland restricts Russian tourist visas

Russian citizens were circumventing the European airspace ban by driving to Helsinki airport, which was being used as a hub to fly to other tourist destinations. Finland is now restricting those border crossings.

Conditions met for German nuclear extension, officials say

Conditions have been met for the German government to allow a temporary lifetime extension of three remaining nuclear reactors, according to the Wall Street Journal, as the country is facing a likely shortage of gas this winter.

Opinion

A year of Taliban — only aid is keeping Afghan kids alive

It's a year since the Western military presence in Afghanistan ended. A year since panic-stricken people flocked to Kabul airport, trying to flee the country, and girls and women waited fearfully for the disintegration of their hard-won rights.

Column

Is this strange summer a moment of change?

It is a strange, strange summer. The war in Ukraine continues, 60 percent of Europe is in danger of drought, and Covid is still around and could rebound in the autumn. At the same time, everyone is desperate for normalcy.

Germany rejects visa ban for Russian tourists

German chancellor Olaf Scholz said a total ban on tourist visas will not be supported by Berlin — adding that many refugees do not agree with the Russian regime.

Column

Is this strange summer a moment of change?

It is a strange, strange summer. The war in Ukraine continues, 60 percent of Europe is in danger of drought, and Covid is still around and could rebound in the autumn. At the same time, everyone is desperate for normalcy.

Opinion

A year of Taliban — only aid is keeping Afghan kids alive

It's a year since the Western military presence in Afghanistan ended. A year since panic-stricken people flocked to Kabul airport, trying to flee the country, and girls and women waited fearfully for the disintegration of their hard-won rights.

News in Brief

  1. Tens of thousands of Jews quit Russia since start of war
  2. Russia says GDP forecasts better than expected
  3. Spain 'hopeful' for new gas pipeline
  4. German troops return to Bosnia over instability fears
  5. Next UK PM candidates reject Scottish independence push
  6. Russia will not allow British spy plane overflight
  7. Discrimination in Germany remains high, new figures show
  8. US weighs plan to revive Iran nuclear deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  4. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us