Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for May 9th, 2010

Europe Day 2010

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 9th May, 2010

Today is the 60th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, which really laid the groundwork for what is now the European Union, by initiating the concept of shared sovereignty. Hence 9 May being celebrated as Europe Day (though it is sometimes referred to by Eurocrats in Brussels in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek manner as St Schuman’s Day). It is the time when those people who are firm believers in the European project can reaffirm their support and mark the EU’s achievements. Not surprisingly, given the high level of Euro-scepticism in Britain, Europe Day makes less of a splash here than in many of our fellow member states. But on Friday evening (Sunday not really being feasible), there was a Europe Day Flamenco music concert by Paco Pena and his ensemble in St John’s Smith Square, co-sponsored by the London offices of the European Commission and the European Parliament and the Embassy of Spain (which currently holds the rotating EU presidency). A native of Cordoba, Paco Pena is a composer and dramatist, as well as a guitarist and has been responsible for creating a fusion of traditional and modern styles in flamenco, which is itself a genre drawing on several traditions, notably gypsy and Arab. It was highly appropriate that the concert was held in Smith Square, as later this year number 32 Smith Square will become London’s new Europe House, housing both the Commission and Parliament offices, as well as the 12 Star Gallery for European cultural events. If the address sounds familiar that’s because it used to be the Conservative Party headquarters — an irony that is enough to make some departed Tory Eurosceptics turn in their graves.

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