Europe Day in Tbilisi


As one of the founding dates of the European Union 9th May is celebrated in several European countries. As Georgia holds close political and economical ties to the EU, there was also a big event in Tbilisi’s Rike Park. With food, information and a bunch of stereotypes so colourful like the balloons in the kid’s hands, the Europe Day was celebrated already one day before the official date and marked the beginning of the European Days 2016.

In many EU member states the enthusiasm about the European project decreases: Populist parties, which in some cases have a right-wing orientation, are on the rise; Great Britain’s citizens will decide on 23 June if they want to remain in the EU or prefer to leave it; and the so called refugee crisis and the financial crisis in Greece are challenging the idea of a common European identity, as well. On Sunday 8 May in Tbilisi’s Rike Park you can’t feel anything like this. The park was crowded by people – citizens, expats and tourists celebrating the Europe Day. This date relates to 9 May 1950, when Robert Schumann set out his vision of a united Europe.

DSC_0545

DSC_0559

Three-quarters of Georgians support EU-path

The event was organized by the European Delegation to Georgia, embassies of some EU-countries and the Tbilisi Mayor’s office. The question why Georgians are so interested about the European Union was answered by a spokesperson of the EU-Delegation to Georgia: “Recent polls show that 77% of Georgians support the country’s course on EU. Therefore, Georgia’s citizens’ interest in the EU, the Member States and opportunities through the increasingly closer partnership is a logical consequence and much appreciated on our side.”


DSC_0506

DSC_0534

17 out of 28 EU member states presented their countries and provided the guests with information about tourist destinations or just with typical food from their home countries. Although it was surprisingly that Poland is famous for it’s cheese, in general it was also about playing with stereotypes: Becherovka at the Czech tent and painting wooden shoes at the Dutch tent. The only exception was Sweden: Deputy Head of Mission Gustaf Winstrand informed in the Swedish tent about the dangers and risks related to traffic in urban centres. Pollution, traffic jams and of course injuries or death in traffic are serious problems, which should also be tackled in Tbilisi.

DSC_0513

DSC_0511

Visitor’s interest not only about food

In general the tents which offered food, were the most crowded ones. Between the tents and booths there were kids running collecting flags and stamps in a “passport” from each EU member state. The German tent offered information about studying in Germany and surprisingly many guests took a picture of themselves with a life-sized picture of German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Different EU institutions like the EU Delegation to Georgia provided their guests with information about the EU. A spokesperson of the EU-Delegation told the Rec Magazine: “Many people kept visiting the tents and engaging in conversations after promotional items were gone and even after informational materials had finished. Equally, the day program with a variety of European and Georgian performances attracted a large audience, as did the evening concert. So having colourful balloons doesn’t mean there wasn’t interest in studying abroad in the EU or simply increasing knowledge and understanding about the European Union and enjoying the spirit of Europe Day in particular. As we account for more than 10 000 visitors in this year’s Europe Day in Tbilisi, we believe the activities were complementary and not exclusive.“

 DSC_0553

DSC_0556

High interest in agricultural products

But also other EU bodies presented themselves. The European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) was not very frequented. The reason might be that it is not very popular in Georgia, but maybe it was due to the fact that they didn’t offer any give-aways. In contrary the tent of the European Union Programme to Agricultural and Rural Development (ENPARD) received a lot of interested guest. ENPARD presented different products like jam, wine or bread from different rural areas in Georgia. And of course it was not only possible to buy, but also just to taste.

DSC_0525

DSC_0536

There was a high media interest, as well, especially in front of the big stage at the front, which hosted several cultural performances. The whole day was finished on the main stage by a concert of Georgian and international artists and musicians. Although on political level it isn’t very likely that Georgia will join the EU in the near future, the visitors in the Rike Park proofed to identify with the idea of a common European identity.

DSC_0537

Europe Day in Tbilisihttp://recmag.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DSC_0503-680x430.jpghttp://recmag.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DSC_0503-150x95.jpg Felix Weiss CultureEventsSociety,,,,,
As one of the founding dates of the European Union 9th May is celebrated in several European countries. As Georgia holds close political and economical ties to the EU, there was also a big event in Tbilisi's Rike Park. With food, information and a bunch of stereotypes so colourful...
<p class="western" align="justify"><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif"><b>As one of the founding dates of the European Union 9</b></span><sup><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif"><b>th</b></span></sup><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif"><b> May is celebrated in several European countries. As Georgia holds close political and economical ties to the EU, there was also a big event in Tbilisi's Rike Park. With food, information and a bunch of stereotypes so colourful like the balloons in the kid's hands, the Europe Day was celebrated already one day before the official date and marked the beginning of the European Days 2016.</b></span></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif">In many EU member states the enthusiasm about the European project decreases: Populist parties, which in some cases have a right-wing orientation, are on the rise; Great Britain's citizens will decide on 23 June if they want to remain in the EU or prefer to leave it; and the so called refugee crisis and the financial crisis in Greece are challenging the idea of a common European identity, as well. On Sunday 8 May in Tbilisi's Rike Park you can't feel anything like this. The park was crowded by people – citizens, expats and tourists celebrating the Europe Day. This date relates to 9 May 1950, when Robert Schumann set out his vision of a united Europe.</span></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><img class=" wp-image-507 aligncenter" src="http://recmag.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DSC_0545-300x199.jpg" alt="DSC_0545" width="548" height="363" /></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-510" src="http://recmag.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DSC_0559-300x236.jpg" alt="DSC_0559" width="548" height="431" /></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif"><b>Three-quarters of Georgians support EU-path</b></span></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif">The event was organized by the European Delegation to Georgia, embassies of some EU-countries and the Tbilisi Mayor's office. The question why Georgia</span><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif">ns are so interested about the European Union was answered by a spokesperson of the EU-Delegation to Georgia: “R</span><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif"><span style="font-size: medium">ecent polls show that 77% of Georgians support the country's course on EU. Therefore, Georgia's citizens' interest in the EU, the Member States and opportunities through the increasingly closer partnership is a logical consequence and much appreciated on our side.”</span></span></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif"><span style="font-size: medium"> <img class="aligncenter wp-image-500" src="http://recmag.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DSC_0506-300x238.jpg" alt="DSC_0506" width="548" height="434" /> </span></span></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-504" src="http://recmag.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DSC_0534-300x163.jpg" alt="DSC_0534" width="548" height="298" /></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif">17 out of 28 EU member states presented their countries and provided the guests with information about tourist destinations or just with typical food from their home countries. Although it was surprisingly that Poland is famous for it's cheese, in general it was also about playing with stereotypes: Becherovka at the Czech tent and painting wooden shoes at the Dutch tent. The only exception was Sweden: Deputy Head of Mission Gustaf Winstrand informed in the Swedish tent about the dangers and risks related to traffic in urban centres. Pollution, traffic jams and of course injuries or death in traffic are serious problems, which should also be tackled in Tbilisi. </span></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-502" src="http://recmag.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DSC_0513-300x199.jpg" alt="DSC_0513" width="548" height="364" /></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-501" src="http://recmag.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DSC_0511-300x242.jpg" alt="DSC_0511" width="548" height="442" /></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif"><b>Visitor's interest not only about food</b></span></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif">In general the tents which offered food, were the most crowded ones. Between the tents and booths there were kids running collecting flags and stamps in a “passport” from each EU member state. The German tent offered information about studying in Germany and surprisingly many guests took a picture of themselves with a life-sized picture of German chancellor Angela Merkel. </span></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif">Different EU institutions like </span><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif">the EU Delegation to Georgia provided their guests with information about the EU. A spokesperso</span><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif"><span style="font-size: medium">n of the EU-Delegation told the Rec Magazine: “Many people kept visiting the tents and engaging in conversations after promotional items were gone and even after informational materials had finished. Equally, the day program with a variety of European and Georgian performances attracted a large audience, as did the evening concert. So having colourful balloons doesn't mean there wasn't interest in studying abroad in the EU or simply increasing knowledge and understanding about the European Union and enjoying the spirit of Europe Day in particular. As we account for more than 10 000 visitors in this year's Europe Day in Tbilisi, we believe the activities were complementary and not exclusive.“</span></span></p> <p class="western" align="justify"> <img class="aligncenter wp-image-508" src="http://recmag.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DSC_0553-300x222.jpg" alt="DSC_0553" width="548" height="405" /></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-509" src="http://recmag.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DSC_0556-300x126.jpg" alt="DSC_0556" width="548" height="230" /></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif"><span style="font-size: medium"><b>High interest in agricultural products</b></span></span></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif">But also other EU bodies presented themselves. The <em>European Union Monitoring Mission</em> (EUMM) was not very frequented. The reason might be that it is not very popular in Georgia, but maybe it was due to the fact that they didn't offer any give-aways. In contrary the tent of the <span style="font-family: Calibri,serif"><i>European Union Programme to Agricultural and Rural Development </i>(</span>ENPARD) received a lot of interested guest. ENPARD </span><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif">presented different products like jam, wine or bread from different rural areas in Georgia. And of course it was not only possible to buy, but also just to taste. </span></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-503" src="http://recmag.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DSC_0525-300x214.jpg" alt="DSC_0525" width="548" height="391" /></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-505" src="http://recmag.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DSC_0536-300x221.jpg" alt="DSC_0536" width="548" height="403" /></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><span style="font-family: Calibri,serif">There was a high media interest, as well, especially in front of the big stage at the front, which hosted several cultural performances. The whole day was finished on the main stage by a concert of Georgian and international artists and musicians. Although on political level it isn't very likely that Georgia will join the EU in the near future, the visitors in the Rike Park proofed to identify with the idea of a common European identity.</span></p> <p class="western" align="justify"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-506" src="http://recmag.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DSC_0537-300x164.jpg" alt="DSC_0537" width="548" height="299" /></p>
Felix Weiss
I am a blogger from Berlin, currently residing in Tbilisi and writing for the Rec Magazine. As a graduate from MA of European Studies I'm interested in political topics, European developments and especially in Eastern Europe. Georgia is a interesting country and I'm glad to spend some time here and to write about the experiences I will make here.