26th Nov 2022

EU begins countdown to 50th birthday carnival

  • Slovenian parachutists will celebrate the EU's birthday their way (Photo:

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.

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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.

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