EU to celebrate first Europe Day overseas at Shanghai Expo

14:03, May 09, 2010      

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For the first time in its history, the European Union (EU) will celebrate Europe Day outside the continent, in Shanghai, a high-level European Commission official said Saturday.

Europe Day, which falls on Sunday, will be celebrated at the Shanghai Expo through a multitude of cultural activities, said Viviane Reding, vice president of the European Commission.

Reding, the EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, said Europe Day will be jointly celebrated for the first time by all EU countries at the same occasion.

This year's Europe Day is special because it marks the 60th anniversary of the then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman's statement calling for a unified Europe and the 35th anniversary of EU-China diplomatic relations, Reding added.

On May 9, 1950, Schuman called on European countries to join together and overcome the scars of World War II, laying the foundation for the European Union.

"We want to bring the message that Europe was built on peace and respect for religion, ethnicity and cultural diversity. We are going to join forces and share the joy of cultural diversity and show the outside world how strong cultural diversity is in our everyday life," Reding said.

Europe Day will showcase the enthusiasm of young people with a series of open-space carnivals, parades and a European Union Youth Orchestra performance at Shanghai Expo Park.

There are roughly 200,000 Chinese students studying in Europe, Reding noted, adding that a mechanism should be established so they can share the experience of exchange in their adulthood.

Reding expressed confidence in the prospects of EU-China relationship.

"The EU-China relationship has never been as strong as it is today. Chinese people are not short-sighted. They always like to know friends and experience friendship in the long term," she said.

The past decades have shown that Europe and China are partners, and they do understand each other, she added.

"We can do things together. The strength of the relationship between China and European Union countries is very, very strong," she said.

Talking abut the trading partnership between EU and China, Serge Abou, ambassador and head of the Delegation of the European Commission to China and Mongolia, said the two sides have decided to push their cooperation to a new level.

The bilateral trading relationship has problems, but they are small compared to overall trade, he said, pointing to the fact EU-China trade volume surpassed 450 billion U.S. dollar in 2009.

"Take the marriage as an example. If you have one problem in 450 days, you consider it a good marriage," he said.

More than 500 million European Union citizens will also celebrate Europe Day in their respective nations on Sunday.

Source: Xinhua


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