With Great Britain’s upcoming departure from the European Union exactly 25 years after the signing of the Treaty of Maastricht, it is time for a new step in Europe’s history. This was the message that kicked off the year-long ‘Europe Calling! Maastricht Treaty 25th Anniversary’ programme opened by governor of Limburg province Theo Bovens and mayor of Maastricht Annemarie Penn-te Strake.
The results of the referendum last week in which a majority of the British population voted for a Brexit coloured the first meeting in the Gouvernement aan de Maas. ‘I think the United Kingdom and the European Union should hold the Brexit discussions in Maastricht. I have extended an invitation to both parties’, said Governor Bovens. ‘Clearly, Europe has arrived at a crossroads in its existence.’ Mayor Penn-te Strake agreed that the current debate on Europe should be held in Maastricht. ‘Twenty-five years after the signing of the Treaty of Maastricht, we can rekindle the flame of a united Europe. From the bottom up, by the generations who make up today’s Europe.’
Europe Calling! Programme
The dialogue about the future of Europe is the main theme of ‘Europe Calling! Maastricht Treaty 25th Anniversary’. Various events will be held in and around Maastricht for almost an entire year. On 9 December a prestigious conference is planned at the MECC, to be attended by more than 1,000 guests and featuring prominent players past and present, including former European Council chairman Herman van Rompuy and Dutch Minister of Finance Jeroen Dijsselbloem as speakers. A second major event will be ‘Generation Maastricht: YO! Fest’ on 7 February 2017 at the MECC organised by our partner the European Youth Forum, where 3000 to 5000 European youth from various socio-economic and cultural backgrounds will share their vision of Europe with each other.
During the kick-off, students from various EU Member States debated the added value that the European Union has for them. A video featuring 28 students – one from each EU Member State –filmed during the event clearly shows the diversity of European cultures and dreams. View it online www.europecalling.nl. The complete programme of events is also available on this website.
The kick-off event concluded with the reading of the poem Europeaan (‘European’) by Amber Helena Reisig (1992).