Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for May 9th, 2020

A Different Europe Day

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 9th May, 2020

Europe Day 2020In recent years on Europe Day, 9 May, I have usually been attending a concert at St. John’s Smith Square, sponsored by the European Commission office which occupied the former Conservative Party headquarters opposite. These days the latter building houses the EU delegation to the UK, because Britain left the European Union on 31 January, in keeping with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s determination to Get Brexit Done. Because of COVID-19 there could not have been a Europe Day concert and reception this week, anyway, as all such public events are potentially dangerous and in fact prohibited under the “new normal”. But millions of Brits who, like myself, bitterly regret the EU’s uncoupling from our 27 European friends and neighbours — though “resent” would be a more accurate verb in my case — still like to see ourselves as Europeans and cherish the values at the heart of the European project, many of which are under assault not only from distant rulers including Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping but also from within, notably from Hungary’s Viktor Orbán. Those values and the peace that our continent has enjoyed for the past 75 years need to be resolutely championed. And even if I shan’t have my spirits raised by the traditional rendering of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy as the finale of a Europe Day concert this year I shall celebrate my European heritage and future with a suitably sourced Mediterranean lunch washed down by a fine bottle of pinot noir.

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