Last 9 May I had one of the most amazing days of my professional life. We inaugurated the European Union pavilion at Expo Milano 2015. All the work we have done for months has paid off amazingly with an incredible turnout and very inspiring words from both President Martin Schulz and High Representative Federica Mogherini.

“Europe is changing, flexibility is no longer a taboo and austerity is no longer a mantra” stated Mogherini. The High Representative also took the opportunity to thank all those who contributed to a big event like Expo Milano 2015, first and foremost the volunteers.

The President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz expressed his pride in being part of a “unique and exceptional community of 28 democratic countries cooperating for peace, welfare and the future of the new generations.”

The promotion of the day started cross-platforms a few days in advance in order to create some pre-event buzz with stakeholders in the field of EU affairs and Expo Milan

After the ceremonial welcoming speech, Europe Day at Expo went on with the “Citizens’ Dialogue”, a debate between institutions and citizens that took place at the Expo Auditorium and welcomed thousands of citizens and high school students from across Europe.

The lively debate moderated by RaiNews24 Director Monica Maggioni tackled some crucial topics for Europe such as nutrition and environmental sustainability. The discussion also grew online through social media, with the official hashtag #EUdialogues (mentioned over 2000 times in the day).

EUDialogues

On social media this turned out to be one of the most successful Citizen’s Dialogue ever, especially thanks to the great inter-institutional cooperation between the many EU-actors involved

At the end of the Dialogue I had the honour of jumping on stage and getting a quick post-event statement by both Mogherini and Shulz on the the interaction and communication opportunities offered by this type of event. I must say I was thrilled at the very least.

Before the Citizen’s Dialogue started I asked a few students participating what they would have liked to ask to the President and the High Representative

Connection between #EUdialogues, #EuropeDay and #Expo2015 good example of mutual positive reinforcements of events, which is also visible in the wordcloud below.

EUDialogues

EUDialogues

Th opening of Expo and the celebrations for Europe Day had a significant impact on @EUExpo2015 Twitter account

Celebrations moved to the European Union Pavilion for its official opening with the ribbon cutting ceremony: Mogherini and Schulz did the honours and had a first visit to the Visitors Experience at the ground floor of the pavilion. The EU pavilion’s visitor’s experience has been designed to spread European values and content related to EU policies in a way that can be easy and accessible to all audiences.

The story told through the visitor’s experience develops around the pavilion’s theme “Growing Europe’s future together for a better world” where bread is the core element, an allegory of variety, but also unity as for the 28 Member States of European Union. Bread is the theme of the main attraction of the experience: the animated short-film “The Golden Ear, the story of Alex and Sylvia.” shown in the three cinemas inside the pavilion. Mogherini and Schulz left the EU Pavilion after signing the pavilion’s Golden Book and continued their official visit off to the Italian Pavilion. Find more info here

Martin_Schulz_Federica_Mogherini_Expo_Milano

Martin_Schulz_Federica_Mogherini_Expo_Milano

Overall, it was an equally exhausting but rewarding day. Through good will and cooperation great things can happen. Stay tuned for more news on my adventure in the next 6 months at Expo Milan and don’t hesitate to come visit me and the European union pavilion!

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