The EU’s birthday, which is celebrated on March 25, is not Victory Day. But when Europe turns 50, it is also worth noting. In any case, that’s exactly what I thought. For the time being.
All the same, during this time she (Europe) managed to achieve a lot. Visa-free travel, student exchanges, the ability to work and live in any country of the European Union are only the most obvious advantages that its citizens enjoy. They never dreamed of what it means to collect endless papers for obtaining a visa, and then prove that you are going to study, and not get married. Oh, these happy Europeans!
I’m calling friends. “Europe Day? — surprised Sophie. “I haven’t heard anything about this.” “So it’s like?” — I am surprised in response. But Sophie not only did not hear, but did not want to hear: “This is a holiday for officials. I have nothing to do there. ” I am dialing the next number. Failure again. Herdis will not go to triumphs out of principle. She works for Amnesty International and is fed up with the mass events. Bertil remains at home. “If you celebrate everything that happens in Berlin, you don’t have enough strength or health,” he concludes. But the reason is not the most worthless. Europe has a birthday. She was knocked half a century. Decades of freedom — travels, youth exchanges, etc., etc. “You are right,” Marie agrees, “but what is there to rejoice about, it goes without saying …” The last hope is roommates. But they are strangers at this holiday: “It’s better to drink some beer somewhere in the bar than to scam around the clubs for 12 euros.”
Without sharing common skepticism, I set off to celebrate the holiday of Europe alone.
On March 24, closer to midnight, young people with ribbons in their hands begin to emerge in the city — an entrance ticket to any of the 35 clubs in Berlin. «European Club Night.» I joyfully smile at passers-by, but I don’t hear in response: “Happy holiday, girl! Hurray to Europe! ”Although there’s something today is not the New Year, and I’m not on Red Square … I go into the legendary Red Salon. Techno is playing with might and main here. In the club opposite, Italians play jazz. Reserved, European. No balloons, no extra toasts. The usual party. And only in the third club I remember that today is not the most ordinary day. Ignites the Hungarian group Little Cow. It is understandable — all the same, people from Eastern Europe, for them it is still a joy … But the audience is also delighted. Shouting musicians, singing along in Hungarian. At least festively.
Then the people walk for a long time, fall asleep in the subway, scurry around the streets, but all this is a normal Berlin Saturday night, without too much Euro-delight.
On Sunday, festivities are planned. They begin on Paris Square, at the Brandenburg Gate. Once Germany was united here, and today the whole united Europe should have fun. Musicians from neighboring countries perform on the big stage. The human stream circulates at the gate, and then slowly flows forward along the street on June 17. Tents are located on the right and left, where EU countries, non-governmental organizations and even government agencies like German mail advertise themselves. Slovenia invites to bask on its beaches, Amnesty International calls not to forget about human rights, and Greenpeace collects signatures in defense of the climate.
And so the people walk back and forth. He will look at the tents, pick up avenues. Eat a bun from Romania, eat potatoes from the Czech Republic. Sometimes strange creatures in national costumes loom. True, they cannot say who they are and where they come from — they only speak their native language. A portable orchestra appears and begins to play boring folk songs. Those who are annoyed by the international flea market occupy the monument of the Soviet army. Children vied with each other at the tank. Someone disappears in the Tiergarten garden. There are also our compatriots who celebrate Europe Day in the same way as all the holidays in their homeland — on a bench with a bottle. Children collect balls with the emblem of the EU. Adults collect children. Family celebration. Without preaching about Great Europe and its great achievements.
By evening, crowds in Paris Square freeze at the stage. Waiting for the performance of Joe Cocker and the festive fireworks. As dusk descends, lights shine on the sky. “Well, here it is, holiday!” — I think. But where is she, pan-European joy?
“Why should we rejoice,” my neighbor Renate later explains to me. — Since the euro was introduced, prices have risen. These are new EU members having fun. They are just starting to take full advantage of it. ”
I’m calling my Czech friend Alexander. That’s who was supposed to feel the holiday! “No, I stayed at home,” he disappoints me. — I watched football. Czech Republic — Germany ”.
In general, the organizers of the European anniversary seem to have miscalculated. It was necessary to arrange a football match between Europe and “not Europe”. Then certainly no one would stay at home. And open borders and student exchanges are all for Russian tourists.