Cérémonie d’ouverture

Opening ceremony tomorrow! I’ve been hearing about these ceremonies for years and years, and now I’m about to attend my very first one in person. In the medieval Hallen in Bruges.

Joining the list of distinguished guest speakers this year are Josep Borrell Fontelles, president of the European Parliament (opening in Natolin on November 3rd) and José Manuel Durão Barroso, president of the European Commission (opening in Bruges tomorrow, the one I’ll be attending).

How distinguished a list? Guest speakers in the last twenty years have included Felipe Gonzalez, Ruud Lubbers, François Mitterand, Margaret Thatcher, Jacques Delors, Richard von Weiszäcker, Flavio Cotti, Jacques Santer, Thomas Klestil, don Juan Carlos, Klaus Hänsch, Wim Kok, Aleksander Kwasniewski, Antonio Guterres, Jean-Luc Dehaene, Georges Papandreou, Guy Verhofstadt, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and Joschka Fischer.

Speakers

If the names don’t mean that much to you, that’s (in no particular order) the prime ministers of Spain, the Netherlands, the UK, Luxembourg and Belgium, the ministers of foreign affairs of Germany and Greece, the presidents of France, the European Commission, Austria, the European Parliament, Poland and the European Convention. And the King of Spain.

Oh yes: try searching for “Bruges speech” 🙂

update: I have an invitation (obviously—with all the national and foreign dignitaries this is quite the high-security event) but I haven’t the foggiest whether my pass allows me to bring my camera. And if it does, if I can take photographs at all. Won’t stop me trying!

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