ISLAMABAD-European Union is making Europe more secure by establishing a security union, promoting peace, stability, and economic prosperity in Europe. The European Union member states are assisting Pakistan’s integration into the global economy. The European Union and its member states celebrated the Europe Day at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) in Islamabad in a very colorful manner.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar was chief guest on the occasion. It was a unique event; the parking was jam packed because of the unrestricted participation of people from various walks of life including ambassadors, diplomats, media person and common citizens. This reflects that EU does not have security concerns in Pakistan any more. The festival provided Pakistani people the opportunity to know more about EU member states’ cultures, traditions, languages, cuisine and music. Each country showcased their stalls separately and general information about their country was displayed. People of different ages enjoyed and appreciated in the festivity.  A ‘Eurovillage’ was set up at the Pakistan National Council of Arts to promote European culture and values among Pakistani people. There were multiple stalls displayed alphabetically but the ground was dusty and a very little grass on it.

Kids’ corner was especially made for children. The first stall in the Eurovillage was of Belgium which is one of the most popular and beautiful countries in Europe. Memory Game was played to familiarise Pakistani people with their country. They also entrained the guest with delights.

The Bulgarian ambassador Romen Pironchtev at Bulgarian stall demonstrated about his country food and tourist resorts. The Chargé d’ Affaires of the Czech Republic Jaroslava Bobková and commercial counselor Mickalbobek exhibited their culture and demonstrated about ice hockey.

Denmark ambassador Rolf Michael Hay Pereira Holmboe was fully involved in making delicious meat balls along with his team. He said that through these activities we are enlightening people about our rich cultural and food. German embassy stall prepared a well-thought-out program of posting messages about water saving and how to avoid plastic bags on board. German ambassador Martin Kobler made photographs with Pakistani people.

People at Spain embassy stall played chess matches and other games. The visitors tasted French food at France stall. French chef very humbly interacted and demonstrated the visitors about his country’s food.

Netherland ambassador Ardi Stoios-braken, in a friendly manner, elaborated the visitors about her country’s culture. Hungary ambassador Istvan Szabo was also there. He in a very lively manner interacted with the visitors. Hungary embassy stall presented flyers and booklets about Hungary to the visitors.

Romanian embassy through quiz session provided people information about their cultural values and historical significance of Romania.

Poland envoy Piotr Opalinski, Sweden ambassador Ingrid Johansson, Romanian ambassador Nicolae Goia and French ambassador Marc Barety were also there. UK embassy stall made a small library there to display books about UK culture and heritage. The stall was not much crowded which showed the issue of Brexit is still a dispute.

Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar while sharing his views said that Pakistan had longstanding relations with the European Union and ‘we look forward towards a strategic partnership based on social economic development and people to people contact’. Europe, he said, since signing of the master treaty had laid an example for the rest of the world to follow their historical culture. He expressed the hope that one day South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) would also follow the footsteps of EU and ‘we will be celebrating SAARC Day’.

Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan, Jean-François Cautain, said that the European Union is, and will continue to be a strong, cooperative and reliable partner to Pakistan. We stand for multilateralism, for human rights, and for international cooperation. We work at home and abroad to promote sustainable development, inclusive societies, and fight against inequality and discrimination of any type, he said. He recalled that the reason the EU was organising a Euro village with ‘to remind everyone of the EU’s cultural richness while also underlining our unity’.

The European bands and Pakistani artist Meesha Shafi also performed in the evening while the famous European illusionist Charlie Caper also entertained the audience with his performance.

The writer is freelance contributor.