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Solidarity in focus when Europe Day was marked across the Western Balkans

12/05/2020 - 11:20
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Concerts, student debates and expressions of the solidarity between the EU and the region – these were some of the highlights when EU Delegations across the region on 9 May celebrated Europe Day and the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s events dominantly moved online, creating new opportunities for taking part in the vast offer of activities.

Europe Day Kosovo

Albania
“18 international artists in 7 days, 0 tickets to buy and lots of fun” – that was the introduction to the Europe Week in Albania, where the EU Delegation in collaboration with EU Member States presented an online live concert every evening. More than 435,000 people have watched the performances by artists from across Europe, and a total of 2,7 million have been reached on social media where the concerts can still be watched.   

On 9 May, more than 100,000 people watched the performance Albanian artist Alban Skenderaj offered from his own garden, preceded by the EU and Albanian anthems on piano and an address by the EU Ambassador. Watch here: 


Europe Day was also an occasion to recall the solidarity between the EU and Albania:
 

Bosnia and Herzegovina
The EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina engaged some of the country’s most prominent musicians to mark the day. In the evening, a concert with sevdah star Amira Medunjanin was broadcast from the landmark Sarajevo city hall, and during the day, a video featuring a “mashup” performance of “Ode to Joy” and the national anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina was released. Performed by artists including Damir Imamovic, Frenkie, Marija Šestić, Nikolina Vujić and a number of opera singers, the video has so far had more than 200,000 views on Facebook only. Watch it here: 

The ambassadors of the EU and EU Member States to BiH published a video carrying the message “BiH is our home, and Europe is yours”:

 
 

Kosovo
In Kosovo the annual “European of the Year” award, recognizing promotion of European values, was presented. Focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic, the shortlisted candidates were individuals and institutions who through their work help protect people’s health and spread factual information – volunteers, clinic staff, a journalist/activist and a professor. After public voting, generating strong engagement, the award was presented to Lul Raka, Professor of Medical Microbiology and Infection Control at the University of Pristina. Since the beginning of the pandemic he has tirelessly informed the public about the virus and how to act.  

Education and culture were other topics in focus on Europe Day, with highlights including a duet performed by soprano Arta Jashari from Kosovo and tenor Piero Mazzocchetti from Italy.  



 
Montenegro
On Europe Day, Western Balkans star Rade Serbedzija headlined the TV show “Tune into Europe” with a concert together with the Zapadni Kolodvor band. It was broadcast on three national TV channels simultaneously and hosted by Young European Ambassadors. It also included speeches by the EU Ambassador and Prime Minister, and a short overview of EU support to Montenegro for handling the COVID-19 pandemic.



The EU Delegation also presented activities in the framework of the “EU at the palm of your hand”, which promotes digital content accessible from home, from educational content on the EU, to tips for more sustainable living. It is also publishing a book with contributions by EU Member States ambassadors, who also participated in the TV broadcast.


 

North Macedonia
In North Macedonia, young students from a music school in Skopje helped mark Europe Day and the 250 years anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, through a collective online performance of “Ode to Joy”.



The EU Delegation also continued its collaboration with the stay at home-TV show “Astro room” and highlighted Erasmus studies and the online student debates, which the EU Ambassador has participated actively in throughout the pandemic.


 

Serbia
In Belgrade, important landmarks turned blue and yellow to mark Europe Day.


The EU Delegation launched a special website explaining the EU’s support to Serbia for handling the COVID-19 crisis, and the campaign “They are heroes”, where the public can help celebrate those engaged in the fight against the coronavirus.   

The Europe Day activities also included an online debate with EU Member State ambassadors to Serbia.

The celebrations continue beyond the 9 May, with a number of activities including an online EU film festival.