Celebrating Europe

Festival d’Europa comes to Florence

Aimee Bateas
April 21, 2011

According to Marco Del Panta, Secretary General of the European University Institute (EUI), 'Florence is a city known for its past and not so much for its present and future.' In his quest to showcase the activities of the European Union (EU) and to display the works of the postgraduate and postdoctoral research institute in Florence, Del Panta created the concept of the Festival d'Europa, which will take place in Florence from 6 to 10 May, 2011. Del Panta's vision was to enhance the visibility of the EUI, which works in partnership with the European Commission to study the EU, as well as contribute to the discussion of the future of Europe.


Festival d'Europa is a combination of lectures, conferences, cultural events and exhibitions to be held throughout the city, organized by the City of Florence, Provincia and University of Florence If you have a strong interest in the European Union, the Conference on the State of the Union, organized by the EUI is a perfect opportunity to hear from some of Europe's most prominent scholars and politicians. The conference, which will take place on May 9 to 10 in Palazzo Vecchio, will host President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso; President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek; Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Franco Frattini and Commissioner Andrulla Vassiliou. The conference will focus on political and economic issues, such as the changes from the Lisbon Treaty of 2010 and the implications of the eurozone crisis.


TF readers who are less familiar with Europe should check out an exhibition that will be held in Piazza Signoria during the festival, where booths will distribute informational materials about the functioning of the EU. The Conference on the State of the Union will be projected on a big screen in Florence's main piazza, as well. History buffs are sure to appreciate the exhibition, held in the main courtyard of Palazzo Vecchio, on the history of European integration.


Thanks to the array of festival events, over 50 cultural events taking place all over the city, there will be something for all tastes, including movie and music fans. The Odeon theater (piazza Strozzi) will be playing a series of European films, which will celebrate Europe and its history. If you enjoy music, there will also be a production of Aida, considered a 'concert for Europe,' by the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino on the evening of May 7.


The Notte Blu ('Blue Night'), organized by the City of Florence, will be one of the biggest cultural events during the festival. It will be a special night dedicated to celebrating the lead-up to Europe's Day, May9. There will be events for 27 hours between May 7 and 8, throughout Florence.


May 9 has been selected as Europe's Day because on Mau 9, 1950, Robert Schuman, the former French Foreign Affairs Minister, released his plan to build a common European organization. The Schuman Declaration, known as the "starting sparkle" of the EU will be celebrating its 61st anniversary this year.


Festival d'Europa will be an exciting opportunity to celebrate Europe in Florence and listen to some of the most influential Europeans who work daily to strengthen the EU influence, both on the continent and in the world. The EUI has been working hard with the European Commission and the over 50 cultural associations who have signed on to make the Festival d'Europa a fun and educational festival for all.


All events are open to the public, except for the Conference on the State of the Union, which requires a reservation. The festival will do its best to accommodate all, with special spots reserved for students. For more information on the festival and to reserve a place at the conference, visit http://www.festivaldeuropa.eu (in English and Italian). Contact the EUI Communication Unit (055.4685428) if you wish to attend the conference.



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