Europe Day, a day of celebration?

Since the Summit of Milan in 1985, The European Union celebrates its fundamental values of peace and solidarity on the 9th of May. Right after World War II, French Minister of Foreign Affairs Robert Schuman, claimed on this day in 1950 the historical necessity to create a supranational European Institution for the coal and steel industry in order to avoid another devastating war. Certainly at that time, this industry could be seen as the basis of all military power. Schuman was convinced that “by pooling basic production and by instituting a new High Authority, whose decisions will bind France, Germany and other member countries, this proposal will lead to the realization of the first concrete foundation of a European federation indispensable to the preservation of peace.”

The Schuman Declaration is not only considered as a crucial step for the foundation of the European Coal and Steel Community, but also for the entire European project as we know it today. The process of this project has evolved along the lines of further economic cooperation and integration. With the Treaty of Rome, we have reached the establishment of a free-tariff zone and a single economic market with the European Economic Community. This eventually led to a form of political integration along with deeper economic integration, with the creation of the European Union as set forth in the Maastricht Treaty.

Today, more than sixty years later, the European project is facing the biggest crisis since its start in 1950. On this day, we as Young European Federalists emphasize the need to move towards the political unity of Europe. The “political message for Europe Day”, which has been voted upon by  JEF Europe’s most recent Federal Committee meeting in Leuven, stresses that “the European integration has already proceeded in different fields like education, social security, defense, welfare, research and development. However, this process has failed yet to reach its most desirable acme and the current economic and social crisis is endangering the development and functioning, if not the mere existence, of the entire EU construction. The Young European Federalists demands therefore the establishment of a fully-fledged European Federation, with a European Government accountable in front of the European Parliament as a means not only to reach the complete political integration of the continent but also as a way of making the EU citizens aware of their being part of a single community who shares the same destiny.”

Of course, the establishment of a fully-fledged European Federation will be not that easy but we have to keep the words of Robert Schuman in mind: “Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity.”

But even in these harsh times, quoting Pauline Gessant, President of JEF-Europe, “we are mobilized across Europe in order to recall that the idea behind celebrating this day ultimately lies in the quest for more European integration and the European vision of peace, solidarity and democracy”. Thus, leave your home and join us in Brussels on Saturday the 12th of May at our stand on the Esplanada in front of the European Parliament and get entertained with all sorts of activities. And of course, you’re also more than welcome to join other Europe Day activities organised by JEF sections all over Europe!

Happy Europe Day!