It’s Europe Day today, more relevant than ever as Russia wages war

It's Europe Day today, more relevant than even as Russia wages war

It's Europe Day today, more relevant than even as Russia wages war Source: EU

Today, May 9, is Europe Day, which marks the 72nd anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, the starting point for the European Union as we know it today.

The significance of Europe Day is even more relevant today, with the war in Ukraine threatening to spill over and once again bring the ravages of war to the continent.

In 1950, the nations of Europe were still struggling to overcome the devastation wrought by World War II, resulting in the Schuman Declaration being presented by French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman on May, 9 1950.

The declaration proposed the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community, whose members would pool coal and steel production.

That resulted in the establishment of the ECSC with founding members France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. That was the start of the setting up of the first of a series of supranational European institutions that would ultimately become today’s “European Union”.

These governments were determined to prevent another war, and rightly, or wrongly, they concluded that pooling coal and steel production would, in the words of the Declaration, make war between historic rivals France and Germany “not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible”.

The founding members also believed that merging economic interests would help raise standards of living and be the first step towards a more united Europe. Right from the outset, it was agreed that ECSC membership would be open to other countries on the continent.

The primary thinking behind the declaration remains valid today, with Russia’s invasion reinforcing the reasons behind the establishment of the bloc.

  • “World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it.”
  • “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.”
  • “The pooling of coal and steel production… will change the destinies of those regions which have long been devoted to the manufacture of munitions of war, of which they have been the most constant victims.”

Europe Day will mean many things to people across the continent, with its celebrations in stark contrast to those taking place in Russia, where the military takes centre stage. But whatever it means to you, it should not be forgotten that Europe was established to stop countries on the continent from raging war against its neighbours, giving the bloc its longest period of peace in modern times.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at


    • Ian

      09 May 2022 • 13:50

      The “Open” borders of Europe are closing again by Sept 2022!!!

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