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Source: European Union (EU)
10 May 2012



Celebrating Europe Day - sharing hope for a better future

On Wednesday 9th May, the European Union for the fourth time hosted its annual Europe Day Fair in Ramallah with an open-air exhibition of EU-funded projects from East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza and a variety of activities for all ages. The EU Representative, Mr. John Gatt-Rutter and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad marked the opening of the event in the presence of hundreds of visitors.

"The 9th of May is an occasion for the European Union to celebrate hope and common achievements and to look towards creating a better future. Europe Day is also an opportunity to celebrate the enduring relations between the European and Palestinian people. We are very happy to have with us today organizations and partners from Jenin, Hebron, Salfit, Qalqilya, the Jordan Valley, Bethlehem, Jerusalem as well as Gaza which shows how far-reaching the EU – Palestinian partnership is", said the EU Representative in his speech during the fair. "Europe Day's message speaks across continents: this day is a symbol of a long-run effort to put aside our bloody history and promote peace and democracy through closer integration. We are certain that these principles will guide the creation of an independent Palestinian state which will be the only guarantee for a better future in this region", the EU Representative added.

More than twenty of the EU's major partners in the oPt came together in the premises of the First Ramallah Group to participate in a public exhibition showcasing the EU's support and how this is making a real difference in the daily lives of Palestinians. A variety of Palestinian products were exhibited, Bedouin communities from the outskirts of Jerusalem performed traditional music and dance and hundreds of children engaged in recreational activities, learning more about Europe and the EU Member States.

Background:
Europe Day celebrates the founding of the European Union, when European leaders decided to set aside differences and work together for the greater good of the people of Europe. On May 9th the European Union marks the symbolic date when in 1950 French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman put forward his ideas of a united Europe to bring lasting peace and prosperity to the continent. From the original Six to twenty-seven European countries today, the European Union is spreading democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights to more than 500 million European citizens. What started off as a coal and steel community and then turned into a broader economic club has since turned into an outward-looking Union with a growing role and reach, acting as a force for good in Europe and globally.

Participating organizations included: ACTED, Association d’Echanges Culturels Hébron-France, Al Aizaria Cooperative – Jerusalem Mountains, Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children, British Council, ECHO, ESDC, EUBAM Rafah, EUPOL COPPS, Goethe Institut, IECD (Institut Européen de Coopération et de Développement), Institut Français, Miftah, National Center for Community Rehabilitation, Oxfam, Palestinian Vision, PlaNet Finance, Riwaq, Women's Studies Centre, Sarreyet Ramallah, Sharek Youth Forum, Vento di Terra and UNRWA

Contact:
The Office of the European Union Representative,West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNRWA
Antonia Zafeiri, Tel: +972 (0) 2 5415 859, +972 (0) 548 024 915
Shadi Othman, Tel: +972 (0) 2 541 5867, +972 (0) 599 673 958

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