Istanbul, March 2157, EuropeFreePress
The atmosphere in Istanbul yesterday was one of jubilant enthusiasm. The leaders of the EU 50 met on the Bosphorus to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Rome Treaty. Turkish President Mustapha Kemal Encerimoglu smoothly oversaw the proceedings in the manner of an orchestra conductor – coordinating the various moments with the press and delivering landmark speeches in what he called “a great moment for the great brotherhood of Europe”.
The resplendent procession of fifty boats along the Bosphorus ended with a landing on the Jubilee Pier built for the occasion as the fifty Heads of State posed on the riverbank for the traditional family photo. Albanian President Igli Igli Tare was the first to receive the Golden Bull Europa commemorative medal – as the head of the last State to join the Union. “We had almost forgotten about them” joked the Swiss representative, taking advantage of the chummy atmosphere.
The heads of the Mauretanian, Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian states followed President Tare onto the podium to receive their Bull in a procession that would last four hours and thirty two minutes (no coffee break). There was a special ‘extra’ gift for Chancellor Helmut Schwarzkopf of the Bundesrepublik in addition to the Golden Bull. President Encerimoglu and Commission President Sahib Ahhari had singled out Schwarzkopf for fifty years of service to the ‘ever closer union’.
The gift was a 210-year old dinner set used by Adolf Hitler (see picture). Encerimoglu commented that this valuable set was made at the time that German troops were invading Poland. Amidst chuckles and smiles all round a visibly moved Schwarzkopf thanked the members present and received a standing ovation.
Berlin 2007, EU 50th Anniversary Celebrations
German chancellor Angela Merkel gave outgoing French President Jacques Chirac an 18th-century beer mug with an embossed relief representing Napoleon’s military victory over the Ottoman army in Egypt in 1799, marking celebrations commemorating the 50th birthday of the European Union.