For the first time ever, nearly all European Ambassadors to the United States went on a joint trip outside of the Beltway to showcase EU unity and celebrate the close political, economic, and cultural ties between the European Union and the State of Maryland
Are you sure this is going to work? Can we manage so many events simultaneously? Will we be able to remain on schedule with multiple parallel programs across the State of Maryland?
When the ambassador of the European Union to the United States, Stavros Lambrinidis, came up with the idea of a joint trip of EU ambassadors to Maryland, some of us at the EU Delegation to the US — and probably in some Member States’ embassies too — started scratching our heads. And yet, it worked out remarkably well.
While European embassies and the EU Delegation regularly organize joint missions across the United States, it is the first time that such a trip is organized at the ambassador level in the country. And all are eager to repeat this again in another State.
23 European Ambassadors knock on Governor Hogan’s door
The full-day trip started in the early hours of Tuesday, December 3rd, with 22 European Union Member States’ ambassadors and the EU ambassador departing Washington, DC, for a meeting with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan in Annapolis, MD.
The meeting with Governor Hogan started with a lot of pictures being taken in front of the Maryland State House Christmas tree…including a few ambassadorial selfies.
Governor Hogan and the European ambassadors then talked about the benefits of strong trade and investment ties between Maryland and the European Union, supporting jobs and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic — including 120,000 jobs in Maryland. Governor Hogan, who also serves as the Chair of the National Governors Association and is part of the U.S. Climate Alliance, also discussed our common policy goals in areas such as climate action with the visiting ambassadors.
23 Ambassadors across the State of Maryland
Following their joint meeting in Annapolis, the European ambassadors split into multiple groups to engage with Marylanders, in all their diversity, with a particular focus on youth — from a public charter school to universities and the U.S. Naval Academy. Ambassadors also talked with business and environmental protection actors.
At the U.S. Naval Academy, several European ambassadors paid tribute to the late Senator John McCain, a lifelong advocate of vibrant transatlantic relations.
Reunited for a flag changing ceremony at Fort McHenry
The ambassadors then reconvened in Baltimore where they visited historic Fort McHenry, which played a role in defending the city in 1812 and inspired America’s national anthem. In the freezing cold, the ambassadors assisted rangers in changing the flag.
A celebration of Maryland in Baltimore
Final stop: the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.
More than 200 Baltimoreans — many of whom from European diasporas — gathered to get to meet the ambassadors, Mayor Bernard ‘Jack’ Young, and senior state officials. Mayor Young handed over a Mayoral Salute to the European Union.
The trip ended with several dance shows, wrapping up a visit that brought Europeans and Marylanders even closer.
And the question now is: where will European Ambassadors go next? Stay tuned…
Compliments of the Delegation of the European Union to the United States