In keeping with its policy of openness, the European civil service will throw open its doors on 5 May in the run-up to Europe day.
The main attraction will again be the Berlaymont building , symbol of the European presence in Brussels. As every year, the day will be marked by a string of activities both inside and outside the building.
Inside will be a huge range of stands on the EU's main activities and policies, as well as exhibitions and public debates. Those brave enough will also have a rare opportunity to try their hand at interpreting, with tips from the professionals.
Two key moments will certainly be the arrival of Belgium's Queen Paola, who will be welcomed by president José Manuel Barroso and vice-presidents Kallas and Wallström, and the official ceremony opening the commissioners' meeting room and the president's office.
Outside the building, there will be a varied programme for young and old alike:
- music of all kinds, including the popular Beatles revival band, Abbey Road. Download program here [12 KB]
- a special market, the "foire de Libramont", featuring live farm animals, country fare and horse-drawn carriage rides.
The commission's policy departments – known as directorates-general, or DGs - will be out in force. DG Agriculture will be handing out free fruit and DG Development building an African village, while DG Research will be demonstrating intelligent cars. Finally, the Tax and Customs DG, together with OLAF, the EU's fraud prevention office, will be parading sniffer dogs and the "scanner" lorry used by Belgian customs authorities.
The open day will give you an impression of the everyday work of the 27 000 staff at the Commission (which can be visited at any time of year).
Europe day is celebrated every year to commemorate the Schuman declaration of 9 May 1950, which led to the creation of what is now the European Union.