The new central point of the EU after Brexit: a field in Bavaria
(): Now that the European Union It includes one less country, its geographical center has moved south-east in a bland field in Bavaria.
Gadheim, a town of 80 people near the German city of Wuerzburg, was ready for bittersweet honor long before leaving the EU at midnight on Friday. A red and white pole placed on a rock marks the new place, and the flags of the EU, Germany and the local municipality of Veitshoechheim wave on flagpoles next to it.
`` On the one hand, of course, I am proud and happy that we are becoming the new geographical center of Europe, '' said Veitshoechheim Mayor Juergen Goetz. `` On the other hand, of course, it is a sad occasion, because with Great Britain a country leaves the EU for the first time. ''
The honor of being the center of Europe derives from the calculations of the national cartographic institute of France, IGN, which places the point at 9 degrees, 54 minutes, 7 seconds to the east and 49 degrees, 50 minutes, 35 seconds to the north.
Gadheim takes control of a place in another municipality in northern Bavaria, Westerngrund, which is 56 kilometers (35 miles) northwest.
The geographical center of the EU, as calculated by IGN, has been in Germany since the block expanded from 15 to 25 members in May 2004 by incorporating 10 countries mostly from Eastern Europe. However, it has moved with the expansion of 2007 to include the eastern nations of Romania and Bulgaria and then in 2013 with the arrival of the newest member, Croatia. Britain's departure has reduced the block's membership to 27 nations.
Goetz said he first heard of the IGN calculation at a local radio station in March 2017, months after Britain's voters decided to leave the block in a 2016 referendum.
`` At first, I thought it was a joke of April fools, one of the first. But it turned out very quickly that it really was that way, '' he said.
Local officials reflected on what to do about it amid years of uncertainty about when and even if Britain would really leave the EU.
Goetz's solution was to prepare the new central point `` and, if it had not happened, we would have made a monument for the unity of Europe from this point. ''
The geographical center of the EU adds a new potential tourist attraction to the nearby Veitshoechheim Palace, which was once the summer residence of the Bishops princes of Würzburg.