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european week zagreb.jpg
Photograph: HINA

European Week started in Zagreb on Saturday with a central ceremony in European Square called "EU Picnic".

European Week in Zagreb is organised by the Representation of the European Commission in Croatia, the European parliament information office, the Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Ministry and the Embassy of the Netherlands, which is currently chairing the EU.

"We decided to celebrate Europe Day (May 9) on Saturday, so that we can have a picnic together, to remember Mr (Robert) Shuman who 66 years ago started a large project that is still ongoing, a project unique in the history of mankind," the head of the Representation of the European Commission in Zagreb, Branko Baricevic, said at the ceremony.

The Schuman Declaration was presented by French foreign minister Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950. It proposed the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community, whose members would pool coal and steel production.

"We are a part of this and it is our great honour and pleasure to have the European Commission together with all 28 EU member states further promote this project as a project of peace and stability on this continent, as a prerequisite of prosperity and a better life," Baricevic said.

The head of the European Parliament's Information Office in Croatia, Violeta Stanicic, greeted those present, notably Croatian members of the European Parliament Andrej Plenkovic, Davor Ivo Stier, Jozo Rados and Davor Skrlec.

Dutch Ambassador Ellen Berends invited everyone to participate in Orange Bike Ride, a bicycle race scheduled to commence at noon, saying that this was Holland's gift to Zagreb.

Orange Bike Ride is part of the European Bicycle Challenge aimed at promoting sustainable means of transportation and motivating as many people as possible to use bicycle as the main transportation. The challenge take place from  May 1 to May 31. It is a challenge among European cities: the City that “rides” the longest total distance wins. The challenge is open to all people living in participating cities, or travelling to/from/across those cities for work, study or other reasons.

European Week is marked in other Croatian cities as well.

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