Oxford will this weekend host an online European Reception, the first time the annual event will be hosted online instead of in the Town Hall.

The meeting will be hosted on Saturday by the Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Mark Lygo, and will include leaders from Europe as well as across Oxfordshire.

Two of Oxford’s twin cities will be represented at the online event, with the District Mayor of the German city of Bonn, Jochen Reeh-Schall, and the Deputy Mayor of the Polish city Wrocław, Jakub Mazur, both in attendance.

Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Mark Lygo said: “It is important that we continue the tradition of the annual European reception in Oxford.”

He added: “In or out of the European Union, Oxford remains an international and European city.”

In addition, the mayors of several of Oxfordshire’s towns will attend on Saturday, including those of Thame, Henley, Abingdon, Chipping Norton, Didcot and Witney.

Around 50 people are expected to join the online reception, including Oxford residents originally from France, Germany, Poland, Romania, Ireland and Croatia.

Two Oxford City councillors, Councillor Tiago Corais, who is Portuguese, and Councillor Nadine Bely-Summers, originally from France, will make short speeches.

The reception will also see a speech from Nazan Uzgar of the group Asylum Welcome, who will speak about settled status for European nationals.

As well as speeches, there will be a choir from another of Oxford’s twin cities, Grenoble, a poetry reading from Croatia, and toasts to Oxford and its twin cities in the rest of Europe.

Councillor John Tanner, secretary of the Oxford European Association, said: “We are asking everyone to bring their own refreshments. We are determined to celebrate the international nature of Oxford. Whether it is tackling with COVID or the Climate Emergency we need to think beyond Oxford to the wider world.”

The Oxford European Association was founded in October 2016, four months after the UK voted to leave the EU, with the aim of promoting the view that “all non-British Europeans are welcome and that Oxford is their home”. The chair of the Association is Dr Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler, a law professor at the University of Reading who has previously studied at the University of Oxford.

Councillor John Tanner has been contacted for comment.

Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Max Spokes

Max (he/him) was formerly Environment News Editor and Climate Columnist at The Blue. He is in his final year studying History and Politics at Balliol.