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Brussels, 8 May 2007

[Graphic in PDF & Word format] [Graphic in PDF & Word format]

World looks to Helsinki as Eurovision sings for diversity

The eyes and ears of Europeans and television viewers across the world will focus on Helsinki from 5-12 May as the Eurovision Song Contest searches for a new musical superstar while highlighting the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All.

During Eurovision Week, entrants to the festival including Ireland’s Dervish and Belgium’s The Krazy Mess Groovers will perform live and give interviews at the European Year pavilion, in the centre of Helsinki, as part of the diversity campaign’s partnership with the song contest. Wheelchair basketball, dance workshops and circus schools will highlight the campaign messages.

Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities said: “The Eurovision Song Contest is an excellent platform for us to inform Europeans about their rights to equal treatment. It is also a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the benefits of diversity. More than a third of Europeans are unaware of their rights to equal treatment. And over half believe that not enough is being done to address the problem of discrimination. This must change! Europe needs to embrace diversity.”

On May 11th, Commissioner Špidla, Finnish Minister of Labour Tarja Cronberg, and the Head of the EC Representation in Finland Antti Peltomäki, will attend a special press conference and photo opportunity to celebrate the partnership (starting at 10 am at the EYEO press stand at Eurovision Media Centre). Mr Špidla will also give a speech about the European Year campaign later that day. He will attend a basketball game of players in wheel chairs and visit the ability path which provided an experience of difficulties in everyday life when one is blind.

See also IP/07/542

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