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Europe Day was celebrated in Wellington with a busy programme involving the EU Member States, the public and key stakeholders.
Celebrations began with a Flag Raising Ceremony along the waterfront. Our Ambassador H.E. Bernard Savage gave a short speech in the presence of his counterparts from the EU Member States. He underlined the importance of the EU flag, not as to replace the European national flags but as to show the idea of cooperation across all EU member states, just like all the golden stars stand together on the blue background. The flag remains flying for the rest of the week.
During the lunch hour, Orchestra Wellington string quartet performed at Wellington City Central Library. The vibrant sounds filled the library with European music including – of course! - Ode to Joy. As many stopped and listened to the performance, Delegation staff went out and explained the significance of 9th May. It was European music for Europe Day.
Festivities continued with an official reception at Wellington's Michael Fowler Centre, lit up with European colours! About 200 guests attended, where Ambassador H.E. Bernard Savage and the Attorney-General of New Zealand, Hon Chris Finlayson, gave speeches on the historical and lasting relevance of the Schuman Declaration. Both emphasized the strong friendship between the European Union and New Zealand and the common prospect of an even closer relationship.
At all events, we were delighted to have Orchestra Wellington. They performed as a brass quintet at the flag raising ceremony and then as a string quartet for the later events. Beethoven’s joyful music was heard throughout the day.
The 9th of May marks the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration in 1950, which resulted in the foundation of the European Coal and Steel Community. Sharing these resources meant bringing peace to the European continent; a decisive step in itself but also a major step towards the European Union of today.