Europe day celebrations

At the seminar with Swedish minister for Justice, Beatrice Ask. Photo: Paloma Blanco

At the seminar with Swedish minister for Justice, Beatrice Ask. Photo: Paloma Blanco

I spent Monday in Stockholm, where this week’s Europe day was celebrated with seminars and events at the House of Europe in the centre of town. For me, Europe day (9 may) is a day to reflect on our European project, and to remind ourselves and others why the EU was once founded. Especially in these times of economic and social turmoil in many EU Member States, it is important to remember that our continent would be far worse off without our European cooperation.

I participated in two seminars yesterday, one on organised crime and security issues with Swedish Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask, and the other about the future of Europe, together with Anna Stellinger, head of the Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies. For those who speak Swedish, you can watch the seminars recorded by Sveriges Television at their website.

The celebrations continue on Europe day proper, on Thursday of this week, when I’m heading to Florence, Italy for the State of the Union event organised by the European University Institute. It brings together representatives from European institutions and national governments, academics and business leaders to discuss the development and the future of the EU. I will be speaking at around mid-day about Europe’s need for migration, and our attitudes towards it. Watch the event live from 9 AM CET on Thursday here.

An issue that has been in the spotlight around social media this week is the Commission’s proposed package of legislation to modernise and strengthen the food import and production chain. Along with my colleagues in the Commission, I have received several questions on this subject through Twitter and email. Many of them, however, appear to be based on misunderstandings of what the legislation is about, when it comes to the commercial use of seed. Let’s make sure this doesn’t snowball into another euro-myth right around Europe day, so here are the facts: Seed in private gardens is not covered by EU legislation. Private gardeners can continue to buy any plant material they want, and sell their seed in small quantities. The Commission foresees no registration rules at all for micro enterprises.

A longer Q&A on the subject can be found here.

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