EUROPE DAY: Spain and EU member states celebrate bloc today

MEMBER states of the EU are marking Europe Day today (Thursday) with events planned in Spain and across the continent.

The EU flag is set to be raised in a ceremony in Madrid’s Plaza de la Villa. Government ministers and representatives of EU institutions are among those due to attend.

King Felipe is set to preside over the 13th annual Carlos V European Prize at the Royal Monastery of Yuste in Caceres, Extremadura.

The awards recognise work promoting the European values of cultural diversity, respect for different identities and the exchange of knowledge.

Europe Day is celebrated across the bloc every year on May 9, the date the Schuman Declaration was delivered in 1950.

The then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman delivered a speech calling for greater co-operation between his country and former West Germany and invited other European countries to join them.

A year later the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was founded by those two countries as well as Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The community brought those countries’ strategic resources under shared management. Schuman said in his declaration that it would help preserve peace between historic military rivals and fuel economic growth.

The minister also envisioned that the community’s founding would be the start of the continent’s gradual unification.

The ECSC was followed by the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC) with the Treaty of Rome in 1957. Spain joined the EEC in 1986.

That bloc became the European Union in 1993 with the signing of the Treaty of Maastricht.

The day comes as Spain prepares to hold European Parliament elections on Sunday May 26.

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Written by

Joe Gerrard

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