Malta gets first European Bench on Campus

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The first European Bench in Malta was launched today at the University of Malta Campus in Msida by MEP Alex Agius Saliba with JEF Malta and the European Parliament Office in Malta.

At a press conference on the launch of this initiative – brought to Malta by JEF Malta with the support of the European Parliament Office in Malta – JEF Malta’s President Nicole Spiteri explained the thinking behind the initiative.

“The European bench at the University of Malta serves as a powerful symbol of the importance of creating spaces that foster dialogue, understanding, and collaboration among individuals from different European countries and no less in Malta. As part of a wider initiative to strengthen European integration, this physical commitment to bringing people together highlights the value of diversity and the benefits that come from working together towards common goals. We therefore look forward to expanding this initiative further on a national level.”

For MEP Alex Agius Saliba “the European Bench initiative encompasses the values that make us truly European. An initiative that was taken up by JEF to fight against right wing extremism by promoting the values of solidarity, democracy and equality – values that are enshrined in the EU Treaties and are being promoted in an artistic way with these benches. Hopefully we will see more benches like this one mushrooming all around Malta and Gozo.”

The Head of the European Parliament Office in Malta Mario Sammut underscored that “the bench will offer a visual testimony of the presence of the European Union in our lives, and the European Parliament Office supports enthusiastically such worthy initiatives”.

Today’s European Bench launch concluded a week of activities and initiatives in Malta and the rest of the European Union celebrating Europe Day, where people also displayed the European flag and had pictures of themselves with the flag on social media.

The European Bench project started in Italy promoted by the Italian branch of the Young European Federalists (JEF) organization, with the support of the offices of the European Parliament and European Commission in Italy.

It was a strong response to the vandalisation of a European bench in the Italian city of Lecco, defaced by Nazi symbols, in July 2021.

This prompted a group of JEFers from the local section to launch crowdfunding for the repair of the damaged bench. They did more than that: thanks to their efforts, there are now more than 50 benches throughout Italy as part of this initiative.

The European Bench initiative is now coming to Malta with the inauguration of the first bench in the Humanities area of the UoM’s Msida campus on Friday.

As part of the Panchine Europee in Ogni Citta campaign, people from all over Europe will paint benches in the colours or form of the EU in their home countries.

In Malta, the European Bench at UoM is planned to be the first of a series, aiming to promote European values and unity in the face of hate and intolerance.

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