On May 9, the exhibition “Peace and Security in Europe” was officially opened in The Hague’s City Hall. Situated in The Hague, “the City of Peace and Justice”, the setting of the exhibition could not have been more suitable for celebrating Europe Day.
The reception was opened with a warm welcome speech by the Honourable Jozias van Aartsen Mayor of The Hague who reminded the audience of the formidable historic and current challenges to Europe’s peace and security.
For additional Marina van Noort’s pictures, please open the following link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/121611753@N07/albums/72157667578684180
The first guest to take the floor was Eduard Slootweg, Head of the European Parliament Information Office, who explained the background of the Europe Day, namely its function in recalling the Schuman Plan of 1950 which laid the foundation for a lasting peace within Europe and today’s the European Union.
How does Europe provide and protect its peace and security today? This question was answered by representatives of the most important institutions themselves – Europol, Eurojust and the European Commission. Gerald Hesztera, Head of Corporate Communications at Europol, described the central role of Europol as a hub for all police forces in Europe with headquarters in The Hague.
Europol is an indispensable actor in its support and coordination of law enforcement operations across Europe. Ms. Michèle Coninsx, President of Eurojust, referred to the organization’s significance in fighting international and cross-border crime. Eurojust takes a central role in supporting EU member state in cross-border investigations and prosecutions, while at the same time closely cooperating with third states.
Lastly, Peter Bekx, director of the European Commission Representation in The Netherlands, explained the key function of the European Union itself in defending peace and security. The official part of the reception was concluded by Jan Hennop, former President of the Foreign Press Association, who invited all guests to toast to both, the Europe Day and the exhibition.
The exhibition itself is composed of two parts – on the one hand presenting the work of Eurojust, Europol and the European Commission and their integral role in the maintenance and protection of European security and peace.
On the other hand displaying a selection of the powerful cartoons by Ali Ferzat, a Syrian caricaturist who won the Sakharov Freedom Prize of thought in 2011 which is awarded to individuals with an exceptional contribution fighting for human rights. In the same year,
Ferzat was severely attacked by unknowns who deliberately broke his fingers. Despite the attacks and various threats, Mr Ferzat continues to be one of the regime’s most outspoken critics through his word and his art. Given that he is currently living in exile in Kuwait, he could unfortunately not attend the reception.