The European Union: Europe Day

Sunday, 8 May 2022 - 10:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Editorial, EU blog post series, European Union
Reading Time:  5 minutes

Europe Day 2009 in Strasbourg © flickr.com - Francois Schnell/cc-by-2.0

Europe Day 2009 in Strasbourg © flickr.com – Francois Schnell/cc-by-2.0

Europe Day is a day celebrating “peace and unity in Europe” celebrated on 5 May by the Council of Europe and on 9 May by the European Union. The first recognition of Europe Day was by the Council of Europe, introduced in 1964. The European Union later started to celebrate its own European Day in commemoration of the 1950 Schuman Declaration which first proposed the European Coal and Steel Community, leading it to be referred to by some as “Schuman Day” or “Day of the united Europe”. Both days are celebrated by displaying the Flag of Europe. The Council of Europe was founded on 5 May 1949, and hence it chose that day for its celebrations when it established the holiday in 1964.

The “Europe Day” of the EU was introduced in 1985 by the European Communities (the predecessor organisation of the EU). The date commemorates the Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950, put forward by Robert Schuman, which proposed the pooling of French and West German coal and steel industries. This led to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community, the first European Community, established on 18 April 1951.

A “raft of cultural icons” was launched by the European Commission in 1985, in reaction to the report by the ad hoc commission “for a People’s Europe” chaired by Pietro Adonnino. The aim was to facilitate European integration by fostering a Pan-European identity among the populations of the EC member states. The European Council adopted “Europe Day” along with the flag of Europe and other items on 29 June 1985, in Milan.

Europe Day on Khreshchatyk Street in Kyiv, Ukraine © flickr.com - An678ko/cc-by-sa-2.0

Europe Day on Khreshchatyk Street in Kyiv, Ukraine © flickr.com – An678ko/cc-by-sa-2.0

Observance of 9 May as “Europe Day” was reported “across Europe” as of 2008. In 2019, 9 May became an official public holiday in Luxembourg each year, to mark Europe Day. The EU’s choice of the date of foundation of the European Coal and Steel Community rather than that of the EU itself established a narrative in which Schuman’s speech, concerned with inducing economic growth and cementing peace between France and Germany, is presented as anticipating a “vocation of the European Union to be the main institutional framework” for the much further-reaching European integration of later decades.

The EU institutions open their doors to the public every year in Brussels and Strasbourg, allowing citizens to visit the places where decisions impacting their day-to-day lives are made. Moreover, many of these organize commemorative events to honor the historical importance of the date. The bodies that choose to make this symbolic gesture are:

In 2020 and in 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent inability to host physical events, the EU institutions organized virtual acts to pay tribute to all those Europeans who were collaborating in the fight against the pandemic. Furthermore, 2020 marked the 70th anniversary of the Schuman declaration and the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Given the occasion, the above mentioned EU institutions launched several online events to commemorate the importance of the date.

Read more on Wikipedia Europe Day, VOLT Europa, United Europe, Pulse of Europe.




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