The EU’s birthday has given Europeans an opportunity to exercise their creativity and imagination. Festivities staged throughout the EU featured tree planting, art competitions and roller skating tours, and that's just scratching the surface.
Besides the many conferences, concerts and exhibitions for people of all ages, EU countries chose their own special ways to party.
If you were in Paris on March 25, you could not avoid the 2 000-plus skaters who joined in the “European roller parade". Decked out in scarves, hats and other accessories in the colours of Europe, the cortège visited the Parisian sites symbolically linked to Europe.
In Valletta, 27 trees, representing the EU countries, were planted to celebrate our common European roots. Meanwhile Romania commemorated half a century of Europe with 50 new trees that will adorn as many parks throughout the country.
The Slovak government commemorated the most recent EU enlargements by planting stately alleys of trees throughout Slovakia, symbolising the 12 countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007. Starting in April, a tree-planting campaign will occupy volunteers from all over Europe, including Estonia and Latvia. The main event will be celebrated on 9 May, Europe Day.
Europe is also bursting with budding young artists of all kinds. Irish secondary school pupils displayed their creativity by writing essays on an imaginary tea party with Robert Schuman, one of the founding fathers of the original European Communities. Finnish pupils will offer their artwork on the theme "Together since 1957" for a special publication where their drawings will appear alongside political essays by MEPs. The beautiful posters created by Hungarian art school students are being exhibited, from March, in the cities of Békéscsaba and Keszthely. In the UK, pupils competed to design the best birthday cards in Wales, postcards in Northern Ireland and posters in Scotland.