City of Joensuu, at the EU’s Eastern Border Calls for Europe to Show Unity
Joensuu, located on the Russian border, has become increasingly concerned about what is happening to Europe. The city invites Town Halls across the continent to fly the European Flag on the last Thursday of July.
”It is high time to hoist the flag and speak out for Europe that belongs to us all – far too valuable for us to allow it to be scattered into pieces. This may be a small gesture, but is all the more meaningful for us in this remote corner of Europe” Kari Karjalainen, Mayor of Joensuu says.
This initiative of Joensuu, capital city of the North Karelia province, is spontaneous: only a week has passed from the initial idea to the launch.
“In this borderland, among forests and lakes, we’ve come to know that if something needs to be achieved, the only way is to take the first step ourselves”, Mr Karjalainen says.
The President of the European Committee of the Regions, the EU institution representing European cities and regions, Markku Markkula warmly endorses the idea. "In times like these, a bottom-up initiative of solidarity across Europe's cities gives great hope for a brighter future, endorsing a true Europe of and for its citizens."
Fly the Flag of Europe
According to Mr Karjalainen, a lot of things in Joensuu have changed for the better since Finland joined the EU.
“Too often people tend to forget that Europe is not an institution. Europe is the everyday life we all live on the grass-root level in cities, towns and municipalities. We Europeans are not perfect, but together we can work for a future that is better for us and for the generations to come”, he says.
On July 28th, Joensuu is hoping to see European flags above every town hall in Europe or be displayed in any way possible.
“The more European flags will wave on the last Thursday of July, the louder our message is going to be heard”, Mr Karjalainen concludes.’
Graphic material can be downloaded at www.connectingeuropeans.eu/media
Mayor of Joensuu
Mr. Kari Karjalainen
tel. +358 400 827357
Director, International Relations
Dr. Janna Puumalainen
tel. +358 50 5115028
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