The ceremony began early in the morning, in the space reserved for official ceremonies at the beginning of the Decumano, already crowded with visitors. This involved raising the Italian and European Union flags, to the music of the Italian National Anthem and Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the EU anthem.
Peace, democracy and development
After this, both Martin Schulz and Federica Mogherini delivered profound and moving speeches. The German President of the EU Parliament spoke of the tragedy of the Second World War and Nazism, and how after the war a newly free and peaceful Europe had for the first time in history found the resolve to overcome its divisions and work together for a collective goal. And how this had led to the founding of the European Union, which shares the same spirit of international cooperation expressed in the Universal Exposition. Starting from this idea, of the founding of the EU, Federica Mogherini emphasized how the challenges facing us today are just as crucial as those faced by our grandparents, today’s emergencies being related to growth, development, human rights and democracy. “A major achievement now emerging is the revision of the logic of pure austerity in economy – Mogherini declared – Europe has a great need for flexibility as well as stability.”
The two European Union representatives then moved to the Expo Auditorium for the Citizen Dialogue event, an encounter focused on direct dialogue and debate with the public. A packed audience made up of young people from all over Europe, and from the rest of the world too, including many connected via Twitter, asked numerous questions, to which Martin Schulz and Federica Mogherini provided answers. Concrete and articulately expressed issues were discussed, ranging from employment to the efficiency of institutions, from youth policies to environmental sustainability, and from handling the current problems of mass migration to achieving peace in areas near Europe’s borders, especially in the Mediterranean basin. Issues which require the intervention of the whole of Europe. “In today’s global situation, no European country could prosper on its own", stated Schulz, "Only by acting together can we construct our future in Europe and the World.”
Inauguration of the EU Pavilion in the Universal Exposition
The official activities concluded with the inauguration of the European Union Expo Pavilion, situated opposite Palazzo Italia
and surrounded by the spaces devoted to Italy’s regions. Schulz and Mogherini cut the ceremonial ribbon, in the presence of Giuseppe Sala and Diana Bracco. After drinking a toast and savoring some light refreshments, Federica Mogherini visited the Save The Children Pavilion
, where the long-running NGO defending children all over the world continues its campaign from its own space in the Universal Exposition.