Brussels, 3 May 2013
Ahead of Europe Day: The European Commission opens its doors and unveils the improved visitors' centre
9 May is Europe Day. This should be more than just a day of celebration for citizens. Therefore, already on Saturday 4 May the Commission, along with the other EU institutions, will open its doors to citizens. For the first time, the European Commission is working with the Brussels 'Iris Festival' which will see the streets of Europe's Capital come alive with concerts and street entertainment on Sunday 5 May. On 4 May Vice-President Reding and Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič will also inaugurate the improved European Commission visitor's centre which has been relocated to be closer to the seat of the institutions.
"How does it work? Who decides? What comes next? These are all questions that people are asking about Europe. It's your chance to get answers: if you ever wanted a sneak preview, a look behind the scenes, to see how European policies are made and by whom, join us for the open days of the European institutions or pass by the Commission's modernised Visitor's Centre. You can also join one of the Citizens' Dialogues that I and my fellow Commissioners are organising in every EU country,” said Vice-President Reding responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. "I am looking forward to seeing a large crowd of people interested in Europe – and their future."
Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič added: "Europe Day is always a good moment for citizens to find out more about what we do. And this year, we have made it easier than ever before, thanks to the new Visitors' Centre. It's our shop window for everybody who wants to learn about the great adventure of European integration."
4 May 2013
On 4 May the European Commission will open its doors. Citizens will be able to go behind the scenes in the Berlaymont building – the Commission's headquarters where the 27 Commissioners go about their daily work. A number of activities and exhibitions will give citizens the opportunity to learn more about what the European Union is and how it impacts upon their daily lives.
Across the street, at 11:15 Vice-President Reding and Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič will inaugurate the improved Visitors' Centre which will then be open to the public as of 14:00. The Centre was previously located in Rue van Maerlant and has now been relocated to sit in the Charlemagne Building, 170 Rue de la Loi (next to the Berlaymont headquarters), at the heart of EU law-making. At the improved Centre, visitors will be able to sit at the table where the College of Commissioners used to meet, take pictures with Commissioners and travel back in European history through interactive touch screens.
In parallel, the European Commission Representation in Belgium will host a series of debates with citizens in various locations (such as le Cercle des voyageurs, les Halles de Schaerbeek, le café C'est bon c'est belge, les Brigittines) about the European Commission's work.
Throughout the year 2013, Vice-President Reding and her fellow Commissioners have been joining forces with national and local politicians in holding debates with citizens all across Europe – to listen to them and answer their questions. Vice-President Viviane Reding, will hold a debate in Brussels on 4 May with over 300 citizens about their expectations for the future of Europe. Sign up to take part: www.eu4be.eu/
5 May 2013
On 4 and 5 May 2013, the Brussels-Capital Region will also celebrate Europe Day, under the theme of 'Brussels and Europe'. On 5 May, between 12:00 and 18:00, the 'Village of Europe' will open its doors near Brussels Central Station (Carrefour de l'Europe).
A lot has been achieved in the twenty years since the introduction of EU Citizenship: A newly published EU survey shows that today 63% of citizens feel "European".
Across the EU, citizens are using their rights on a daily basis. Europeans are benefiting from increased protection on cross-border purchases, guaranteed treatment in other EU Member States through the European Health Card and cheaper roaming charges all thanks to European legislation. But people are not always aware of these rights.
That is why the European Commission kicked off the European Year of Citizens (IP/13/2), a year dedicated to citizens and their rights. Throughout the year, members of the Commission will hold debates with citizens about their expectations for the future in Citizens' Dialogues (townhall meetings) all over the EU.
Meanwhile, the European Commission is also working to remove obstacles frustrating citizens. On 8 May, the Commission will publish its second EU citizenship report, which will take stock what has been concretely achieved since 2010 to improve citizens' rights and will outline 12 new concrete actions to address remaining problems that EU citizens still face - from looking for a job in other EU countries to getting better legal protection whenever in another EU country.
For more information
Open Doors Day
Complete Commission programme:
Programme of the Debates in Brussels:
Programme for all EU institutions:
Questions? Use the Twitter hashtag #euopendoors
La Tentation/Centro Galego de Bruxelas - 28, Rue de Laeken - 1000 Bruxelles Debate starts at 14:30, until 16:00 (doors will open at 13:45)
Entrance is free, upon registration: http://www.eu4be.eu/