13 September, 2014

A nice cup of twinning

Le cinquantième anniversaire du jumelage tripartite entre Angers, Haarlem et Osnabruck a été célébré le 14 septembre en présence de délégations de toutes les villes avec lesquelles Angers a noué des liens de coopération. Les participants ont souligné que le jumelage restait, face à un repli sur soi de plus en plus répandu et face à une contestation de l'idéal européen, plus que jamais nécessaire. 

More than an anniversary, the celebrations of the half century of relationships between Angers and several cities partners from Europe and Africa were an opportunity to a relaunch. "The current period is not propitious to strengthen links. Nevertheless, given the criticisms generated by the economic crisis and ta focusing on one's inner self, more than ever that task is necessary", reminded the Angers mayor, Christophe Béchu, to the Bamako, Haarlem, Osnabrück, Pisa, Södertälje and Wigan delegations gathered in the Terra Botanica park on September 14th. The Wigan representative, who detailed her trip in Angers was the first one, even added that "We are in a test period for our people".

If, on many issues, differences will appear in policies implemented by the previous and the current city council, in the field of twinnings, no such split is foreseeable. And the successive Angers decision makers were all praised for their part in what is today considered as an achievement.

Some of those guests reported the questions of their own fellow citizens. "There is a scepticism regarding Europe which goes far beyond the European currency. So our new challenge is to find a good basis for the European project", pointed out an Haarlem representative. Sometimes, symbols appears important in the pursuit of the twinning scheme. The Osnabruk delegate reported that "dead trees where marks of the first WW bullets were still visible have been used by her city as panels for pacifist sentences extrated from the "All quiet on the Western front" book of the German Erich Maria Remarque  and will be used in the same way
until 2018".

The Bamako spokesperson illustrated through daily achievements and the involvement of numerous Angers communities, how the twinning with the french city, launched in 1974 by Christophe Béchu's (conservative)  predecessor, the Socialist Jean Monnier, was a success. Those experiences may trigger new developments. The Södertälje mayor, whose city is close to Angers through the Scania trucks factory, announced a project in the field of education through the settlement of a school in Angers.

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