French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman (1886-1963), on 9 May 1950, gave a speech that is now historic; in that public call, he presented a proposal developed by him for the creation of an organised Europe. Schuman based his speech on the fact that the union of European countries was a prerequisite for the maintenance of peaceful relations.

This proposal, which became known as the Schuman Declaration or Plan’, is considered to be the beginning of the birth of what is now the European Union. In this Declaration, Schuman called on France and Germany to overcome their historical rivalry and to lead the construction of Europe.

The declaration was definitively enshrined in the Treaty of Paris, which was signed barely a year after the presentation of the proposal on 18 April 1951.

That agreement included the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), to which, in addition to France and Germany, four other countries would join: Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Once the ECSC was operational, the Community would be extended to other European countries to form an area of free movement of persons, goods and capital. This system of crossed interests would avoid the possibility of a new war.

This was undoubtedly the first step towards the creation of a European Federation which eventually led to the European Union.

In the Schuman Declaration, at the Milan Summit in 1985, the European Council decided to declare 9 May as Europe Day in commemoration of that speech by the French Minister for Foreign Affairs.

To celebrate Europe Day, from the beginning of May, the EU institutions open their doors to citizens in Brussels and Strasbourg. The EU representations in Europe and the rest of the world organise a variety of activities and events to disseminate the tasks and actions carried out, which are highly participative and for all ages.

Experience shows that every year thousands of people attend visits, debates, concerts and other events that celebrate Europe Day and raise awareness of the EU.

The following links provide information on the activities planned to celebrate Europe Week:

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