Taipei, May 5 (CNA) The 2018 Europe Fair kicked off Saturday in Taipei showcasing European culture, cuisine, food and beverages, interactive games, as well as on-site live performances as part of worldwide celebrations for Europe Day on May 9.
Addressing the event attended by European diplomatic dignitaries, European Union (EU) representative to Taiwan Madeleine Majorenko said it provides an opportunity to bring Europe to Taiwan and Taiwan to Europe.
"Whether you come (to the EU) as tourists, students, or maybe to work one day, you are most welcome," said Majorenko, the head of the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) in Taipei. "Europe will always welcome you with open arms."
Europe Day is observed on May 9 every year to mark the anniversary of the Schuman declaration, a speech delivered by then French foreign minister Robert Schuman in 1950 that led to the creation of what is now the EU.
This year's two-day event was held at the Xinyi Xiangti Plaza in Taipei's Xinyi District and marks the third time the event has been held since the EETO decided to make it an annual festival for the people of Taiwan in 2016.
This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the introduction of an EU-Taiwan consultation mechanism and the 15th anniversary of the establishment of EETO.
Taiwan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu said that the event provided a great opportunity for Taiwanese people to see what the EU has to offer, "from good food, good taste, good drink, to shopping."
"Isn't that great that we have EETO in Taiwan for 15 years?" Wu said, adding that the presence of the EU representative office in Taiwan "means a lot to us."
At the event, a blue buffalo named "Moomoo," chosen through a design competition held earlier this year in Taiwan to pick the EU's first mascot, made its official debut.
Majorenko praised Chien Pei-yi, a student at Fu Jen Catholic University who designed the mascot, for "bringing the EU and Taiwan together" through her design of a buffalo which represents two important motifs in both the EU and Taiwan.
In Greek mythology, the name of the European continent originated from a story about a bull and a princess named Europa, while in Taiwan the water buffalo exemplifies the friendly and hard-working spirit of its people, Majorenko said. (By Shih Hsiu-chuan)