Today, 9 May, marks Europe Day: an annual celebration of peace and unity throughout the EU, with commemorative events taking place worldwide.
Europe Day commemorates the anniversary of the 1950 Schuman Declaration, a speech delivered by the then-French foreign minister Robert Schuman proposing the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC); the ECSC, formed in 1951 by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany, was the first in a series of postwar cooperative endeavours between nations which would eventually become the European Union.
The Schuman Declaration states: “World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it. The contribution which an organised and living Europe can bring to civilisation is indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations… The setting up of this powerful productive unit, open to all countries willing to take part and bound ultimately to provide all the member countries with the basic elements of industrial production on the same terms, will lay a true foundation for their economic unification. This production will be offered to the world as a whole without distinction or exception, with the aim of contributing to raising living standards and to promoting peaceful achievements.”
The 2019 Europe Day celebrations will focus on the theme of “choosing your own future”, encouraging citizens across the EU to participate in the European elections between 23 and 26 May. The European institutions are set to hold open days, with public debates, guided tours of official buildings, in Luxembourg today and in Strasbourg on 19 May; while an EU open day took place in Brussels on 4 May. Local EU offices in Member States and around the world are holding open days, activities and other events with the aim of demystifying EU processes and raising awareness of how the bloc’s institutions benefit citizens in their everyday lives.
As part of its 2019 Europe Day celebrations Eurostat, the EU’s Directorate General for statistical data, has produced a video representation of the statistically “average” EU citizen: