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"Live European Flag" event to mark 9th May

The Live European Flag event at the Esplanade on 9 May will mark the birthday of the European Union. The eight-metres-wide and fourteen-metres-long flag will be composed by the event’s participants holding 1000 blue balloons and twelve yellow umbrellas. Taking part are the Ambassadors of the European Union Member States accredited in Latvia.

The event is arranged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in association with the European Commission Representation in Latvia, the European Parliament Information Office and the Danish Cultural Institute.

"It is an established tradition that we mark Europe Day on the second Saturday in May; however, for society to embrace the 9th of May as the day that saw the foundation for the European Union being laid, this year’s events will take place both on the actual ‘birthday’ of the EU and also on 12 May," noted Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs. The minister invites the Rigans, young and old, and the guests of the city to jointly celebrate Europe Day, by becoming part of the symbol of Europe – its flag, and by showing that, each of us separately and all together, we are Europe.

The Europe Day festivities will be launched at 4 pm by Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs. The audience will be addressed by Per Carlsen, Ambassador of Denmark, the country currently holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Māris Graudiņš, Head of the European Parliament Information Office, and Inna Šteinbuka, Head of the European Commission Representation in Latvia.

To the sounds of the European anthem – Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, the participants holding balloons and umbrellas will compose the European Union flag. Then the one thousand balloons will be released into the air. To conclude the event, from 4.40 pm to 6 pm, the visitors will be offered to take part in a quiz.

The winners will have an opportunity to look down at the city from a hot-air balloon. Background music will be provided by DJ Monsta, creating the feeling that one has visited a number of European Union member states in the course of two hours.

The Europe Day celebrations on 9 May will ring in the European Union Garden Festival of 12 May, to be held for the fourth consecutive year at Vērmanes Garden. This year’s event marks the European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity Between Generations, aiming to raise awareness among general public about cooperation among various groups of society and to talk about exploring one’s own potential and adopting an active attitude disregarding age.

The motto of the festival is "Let us be active through generations! Join in!" Further information can be found on the website at: http://www.es.gov.lv/eiropa-isuma/eiropas-diena-latvija/2012-gads/es-darza-svetki.

The event is financed under the Management Partnership concluded between the European Commission and the Government of Latvia. The aim of the Partnership is to inform society about the European Union-related matters.

About Europe Day

On 9 May 1950, five years after the end of World War II, the Foreign Minister of France Robert Schumann conceived a plan to unite the coal and steel sectors of the European countries to prevent a chance of yet another war. The idea became reality and set a starting point for the European Union; therefore, 9 May is celebrated all over the European Union as Europe Day.

For journalists’ attention!

Journalists will be able to take photos and videos from a six-metre-high stage and the hot-air balloon, 30 metres above the ground. The media are welcome to participate, applying in advance to Līva Jēgere, tel. 26151344, liva.jegere@hauska.com.

Press and Information Division

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