Europe Day 2018
09 May 2018
The 9 May each year is ‘Europe Day’ – an annual celebration of the achievements of the European Union and the decades of peace that have been enjoyed on the continent after the previous years of war in Europe. The date is set on the anniversary of the ‘Schuman Declaration’ in 1950 – a speech made by Robert Schuman, the French Foreign Minister at the time, who laid out his ideas for political cooperation across Europe.
This declaration brought about the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community which would be the forerunner to the European Union. In the aftermath of the Second World War, this new community would create a common market for steel and coal between the original six signatories - France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. By ensuring greater economic relationships, particularly between France and Germany for example, it was hoped this would prevent the risk of future war or conflict on the continent.
In this spirit, and the years of peace and relative stability that have been enjoyed in Europe, it is right to celebrate Europe Day for achieving this aim of ending conflict. But there is also all the other EU achievements we can celebrate on this day too – from the protection and strengthening of workers’ rights, environmental standards and regulations to tackle pollution, clean our waters and improve recycling, to the enjoyment of our rights and the ability to travel, study or work across Europe.
With less than a year to go in the UK until Brexit next March 2019, Europe Day is a great opportunity to mark the achievements of the European Union but it is also a sombre day to reflect on the rights and benefits we may be set to lose.
You can read more about Europe Day on the European Union website here.