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Birthday gifts for the Maastricht Treaty

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The Maastricht treaty, signed on 7 February 1992, came into force in November 1993, when most of's editorial team were children. The treaty heralded both the creation of the European Union, formerly the 'European EconomicEommunity', and introduced the euro as a single currency. Two decades on, it’s attracting the wrath of crisis-struck Europeans.

A compass and a valium

Happy Birthday, Maastricht.

My gifts to you are a compass and a pack of valium. The compass will help you find your way, as it seems you’ve been lost for the last four years. The valium, because you need to relax. You’ve been under terrible pressure for the last few months, with all the European heads of state questioning you and even wanting to change you, poor thing! As you can’t go on holiday (it´s not the best moment to leave the continent), some valium (no more than one a day) will help you to keep calm and sleep well every night. Maybe when you’re calmer, you’ll realise that things in Europe are not as bad as they make us believe.

With love, Cristina from Spain

A surprise party with European gastronomic therapy

Dear Treaty,

I’m throwing you a surprise party. It's not just because you’re feeling more than a little unloved at the moment, but also because we Europeans ought to get to know you better. What are you really about? What are your aims in life? Where do you go from here? Come share some Polish potato pancakes, Danish lemon cake and English sherry and tell us for yourself.

Birthday wishes, Annie from the UK

A (Mediterranean) name change

Hallo Maastricht,

I’m offering you the chance to change your name. Maastricht? How many young Europeans know where that is? I suggest you associate yourself with somewhere a bit cooler: the Ibiza Treaty, the Mikonos Pact, the Capri Alliance…Think about it. 

Jacopo from Italy

A holiday

Dear Maastricht Treaty,

You’ve had a pretty rough time. For twenty years you’ve fixed rules, organised elections and patrolled borders. You were popular and had lots of friends. Yet over the last few months the going’s got tough. Nobody cares for you and no one is interested in your opinion. Behind your back they say that you’ve become weak and are no longer important. Maybe you just need some time out, so I’m giving you a holiday for your birthday. A few months in the Maldives? Maybe you’ll even make some new friends.

Cheers, Alexandra from Germany

A round-the-world trip

Dear Maastricht Treaty,

For your twentieth birthday, I wish I could buy you a trip around the world. I wish that you did not stop at luxurious hotels and take advantage of what European wealth has made our politicians get used to. I wish it was impossible for you to call Papa Sarkozy in case of the smallest trouble you encounter outside of EU borders. I wish you found out that besides a two speed Europe, there is a third, not necessarily 'worse' velocity outside, which may prove to be too fast, innovative and inconsiderate for and of the 'classic' order of the world.

Hugs, Agata from Poland

Seventeen euros

Dear Maastricht,

I would give you a one euro coin from each of the seventeen countries of the Eurozone, with the national motifs on the backs...

Take care, Gina from Hungary

A make-up set

Dear Maastricht Treaty,

A new makeup set would be the perfect present for your birthday (your old one is nearly finished). In the last two decades you as a European clause monster have been publicly powdered, blushed, concealed and painted afresh. No-one sticks to the rules! You said yourself that the annual debt of a member state shouldn’t be higher than 3% of the annual GDP; but even Germany has had to put some make-up on in order to ‘retouch’ its annual balance. I mean 23 out of the 27 EU member states broke those limitations - currently, Estonia has the lowest debt ceiling.

Kiss, Katharina from Germany

A Leonard Cohen album

Dear Maastricht,

Leonard Cohen is like you. He's got that faded crooner side to him, who stuck to the rock music as he flowered through those years of crazy. You may have been knocked a lot in your twenty years of existence but you invented the euro, and the great thing is that everyone wants to save it, it's just another trick to figure out how. So Europe and the euro, it's like rock you know, those 'old ideas' as Cohen would say. Your treaty is as fine as a crunchy Led Zeppeling bassline, don't worry about that, everyone will be using it one hundred years down the line. Cohen proved he could make his comeback, and he was 77 when he did so. Bring it on Maastricht, you're an artist.

Peace out, Matthieu from France