The European Commission unveiled its pavilion at Shanghai Expo while a photo exhibition being held at its Brussels-based headquarters on March 2, mainly for the officials from the commission and European Parliament.
Song Zhe, head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, addresses the opening ceremony. [en.expo2010.cn]
Serge Abou, the EU's ambassador to China, gave an introduction on pavilion at the opening ceremony of the photo exhibition that would last two weeks.
According to Abou, the EU's pavilion is based around the theme of "Intelligent Europe," containing four parts respectively titled "Building Europe," "Open Europe," "Green Europe" and "Living Europe."
After a brief history of the EU and its key values and objectives in the "Building Europe" space, visitors will enter the "Open Europe" area, a panorama of the economic and social achievements of a Europe without internal borders, including the euro, the Schengen visa and the Erasmus study programme. A video installation will highlight the EU-China partnership in an innovative way.
Further along, the space "Green Europe" is devoted to the EU's ambitions to offer all citizens a "better city" and a "better life" while the finale is "Living Europe," an array of screens showing the colorful sights and vibrant sounds of European life.
Despite the tradition that the European Commission never participates in World Expo outside Europe, the EU decided in January, 2009, to be represented at a World Expo alongside its member states on the occasion of the Shanghai edition with its own pavilion to showcase the achievements of the bloc during the event that is expected to attract more than 70 million visitors.
The European Commission opted for a joint pavilion with Belgium, which will be holding the rotating presidency in the second half of 2010. This shared pavilion is at the center of the so-called "European quarter."
"The EU can reach an extremely large and diverse population that has for the most part limited understanding of the European Union," Abou said, adding that the Expo offers a chance to build relations with key stakeholder by holding thematic events on a range of current political topics, such as climate change, energy, etc.
The ambassador said the EU will also use the opportunity of the Expo to develop its constructive relationship with many parts of the Chinese society, including high-level policymakers, national and local authorities, academics and business representatives.
"The Shanghai Expo will bring China and the world closer to each other," said Song Zhe, head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, when addressing the opening ceremony.
"As the host, China is working in close coordination with the participants and making every effort in the preparations," he said. "Together we will make this Expo a successful, exciting and unforgettable event."
Jos Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, and Catherine Ashton, the high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, are expected to attend the opening ceremony of the Shanghai Expo that will open on May 1 and will last six months until October 31 this year.