Why Europe Day is celebrated: 5 things you should know

Written by Shubhangi Gupta | Edited by Swati Bhasin, New Delhi
May 09, 2022 07:41 AM IST

Here are five things to know about the Europe Day.

Europe Day – celebrated on May 9 every year – commemorates the day on which the building of the European Union is said to have begun. It was also the day on which the historic 'Schuman declaration' was presented by French foreign minister Robert Schuman to make war between historic rivals France and Germany "not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible". The day, thus, celebrates peace and unity in Europe.

A Europe flag waves on top of a building.(AP)
A Europe flag waves on top of a building.(AP)

Here are five things to know about the Europe Day:

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The 'Schuman Declaration' proposed the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), whose members would pool coal and steel production. The declaration came to being in 1950 when the nations of Europe were still struggling to overcome the devastation wrought by World War II - even though the war had ended 5 years ago.

To prevent any such war in the future, European governments concluded that the merging of economic interests would be the first step towards a more united Europe. The founding members of ECSC include France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. However, the membership was left open to other countries.

Also read | EU chief slams Russia on Ukraine war: 'Why we're celebrating Europe Day'| Video

A wide range of activities - online and on-site - are held across the EU member states, as well as in the home of the EU institutions in Brussels, Luxembourg, and Strasbourg.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen took Europe Day as an opportunity to express solidarity with Ukraine. “The Russian invasion of Ukraine reminds us why we are celebrating Europe Day tomorrow. The day when a peaceful, prosperous Europe was born. 72 years later, Europe is united in solidarity with our Ukrainian friends, who aspire to a future of freedom,” she said in a Twitter post.

Europe Day is a public holiday in Luxembourg, Kosovo and a ‘memorial day’ in Croatia, and 'flag day’ in Germany. The day is celebrated in Romania too, where it coincides with the country's independence day.

Meanwhile, while Europe is commemorating the 77th anniversary of the surrender of the Nazis, Russia is celebrating the victory on May 9. Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender came into force at 11:01 p.m. on May 8, 1945, which was May 9 in Moscow.

(With inputs from the European Union website)

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