The Light of Europe Day

Montenegro celebrated Europe Day

This year’s Europe Day celebrations, organized by the Delegation of the European Union in Montenegro and the European House, in partnership with the Capital City of Podgorica and the University of Montenegro, were dedicated to the theme of light regarding 50 years of the oldest higher education institution in Montenegro. The main activities to mark Europe Day took place at the University of Montenegro and in the building of the Montenegrin Academy of Science and Art.

The celebration activities had started a day earlier. Artist Marija Bozovic and her band performed a concert on May 8th, at the Independence Square in Podgorica. It was a gift of the Delegation of the European Union in Montenegro and the European House to the people of Podgorica and to the traditional May Bazaar. Activities to set up the traditional flower carpet at the University Square, near the St. Peter of Cetinje monument, had commenced simultaneously.

A reception was held the next day, on May 9th, at the Montenegrin Academy of Science and Art building. The event was organized by the Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Montenegro, Oana Cristina Popa, and was attended by top state officials, representatives of civil society, media, culture sector, and the business community. At the same time, a retrospective exhibition of works by the renowned Montenegrin painter Vojo Stanic was presented at the venue for all guests to enjoy. Ambassador Popa highlighted that Europe Day was being celebrated in the new and elegant building of the Montenegrin Academy of Science and Art, symbolizing the richness of Montenegrin art and the power of education.

“Since I started working in Montenegro, I have always enjoyed nights like this, where we are surrounded by talent and expectance of future successes. Although it may not seem so tonight, EU accession activities are not always so glamorous. There is a lot of work, challenges are complex, deadlines are short, and a lot of patience is needed. However, we must not forget how crucial that work is for building a more righteous and advanced society – a society that will enable its talented young people to grow, learn, and succeed in united Europe,” Popa said.

Ambassador Popa, whose term in Montenegro is ending soon, emphasized the following to the gathered guests: “Fate is not a matter of coincidence; it is a matter of choice; it is not something that needs to be waited for but something that needs to be achieved. The choice of Montenegrin citizens is clear. There is no time to wait anymore; now is the time for work and success!”

It is precisely what the President of Montenegro, Jakov Milatovic, promised when he addressed the audience at the reception. Milatovic emphasized the urgency of accelerating Montenegro’s European path in the context of revitalizing the expansion of the European Union.

“I hope that we are now in the end stage of the negotiation process, and despite encountering internal challenges, the collective focus of all social actors remains oriented towards the European horizon. We are especially obliged to keep that focus due to the continued level of support our citizens have for the European path. Research and public opinion polls consistently confirm that over 80% of citizens of Montenegro are supportive of the integration of Montenegro into the EU. This support is not just of a formal character; It is deeply rooted, and it overcomes the political differences,” Milatovic said.

The following day, by celebrating the light of knowledge and belief that the young are the driving power of every society, the Delegation of the EU in Montenegro supported a student party organized by the Student Parliament and “Krs” radio in honor of 10 years of their operations. DJ Rolando from Detroit, accompanied by regional artists, had a performance in front of the technical faculties.

On Saturday, May 11th, a central event celebrating Europe Day was held on the promenade of the University campus. The event featured a rich program on the stage designed for all ages. Additionally, a flower carpet was unveiled, along with a fair of embassies, programs, and projects of the EU, the Capital City, and the University. The flower carpet, inspired by the motifs of Montenegrin craftsmanship, covered an area of 274 square meters and contained around 18 thousand seedlings. After the event, the seedlings were planted in public areas of the Capital. Citizens of Podgorica had the opportunity to interact with representatives of the diplomatic corps and enjoy various activities, including a concert by the children’s choir “Zvjezdice” (transl. Stars) and a sand show dedicated to the character of the “Super Fairy Star.” The festivities also included an “imaginary city” display, a fashion show, an EU picnic, chess, and football. Simultaneously, the Festival of Lights was being prepared on the same premises.

On the following day, on Sunday, May 12th, Oana Cristina Popa, EU Ambassador to Montenegro, and Vladimir Bozovic, Rector of the University of Montenegro, opened the Festival of Lights in front of the Rectorate. The Rectorate building served as the area for 3D mapping and the light show, along with a mini-concert in the background (DJ set, saxophone, and an electric violin). In the meantime, everybody was able to enjoy the captivating light and shadow shows in the nearby park, with three light devices installed that were made available to the European House by courtesy of the Tourist Organization of Zagreb for organizing the Festival. According to estimates from the European House, over 10 thousand visitors attended all European Day celebration activities.