Europe DayPosted: May 11, 2011
“World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it. The contribution which an organized and living Europe can bring to civilization is indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations.”
These are the words that the foreign minister of France, Robert Shuman, spoke on May 9, 1950. These words and those that followed laid the foundation for what is now the European Union. Shuman wanted the nations of Europe to bring together their most important industries, coal and steel, making Europe one. In carrying out the words of Schuman, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Luxembourg agreed to merge their industries to be ruled as one. This treaty and a few that followed officially created the European Union. Each country can choose whether or not it wishes to be a part of the union. There are 27 countries currently a part of the European Union. Because of the influence of Shuman’s speech, in 1985, May 9 was declared Europe Day.
May 9 is not only a day of reflection on the creation of the European Union, but it is a time to truly celebrate this unity. The day’s festivities include speeches, videos, activities, and performances. One of this year’s main themes was volunteering. There were several speakers and videos about volunteer efforts and their importance for the European Union. The cultural performances included the Clondalkin Intercultural Club Choir and Irish singers. This day is an annual reminder for European citizens that cross cultural relations and aid are important and are the purpose of the European Union.
There are still some tensions among European nations such as France and Germany, and those countries who wish to admit Turkey and those that do not. However, this union has made all 27 members stronger and brought better relations and a stronger economy to the continent. If it were not for Shuman’s speech 61 years ago, Europe could be in disarray and turmoil, but the nations have realized that they need to rely on each other and act as one to be successful. Events such as this show the importance of international relations and different cultures acting as one for common good. All members of the European Union, by joining together, have made each other better off.
To learn more about the European Union and Europe Day visit europa.eu.
By Joe Lucot, World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh Intern