Today, we celebrate EUROPE day. On 9th of May 1950, the French foreign minister Robert Schuman, read a declaration in front of international press, calling France, Germany and other European countries to pool their coal and steel production together.
His proposal was to create a supranational European Institution managing the coal and steel industry, leading to the creation of the European Coal and Steel community, forming the grounding stones of what we now know to be the European Union (EU). Founding members of the EU were Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In 1957 the European Economic Community was created through the Treaty of Rome. On 1st January 1973 the EU is enlarged by Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom and in 1979 citizens can vote for the first time for members of the European Parliament. Did you know that Greece was the 10th member of the EU and is already part of it since 1981?
1986 marks a special and exciting year in the history of Europe, Spain and Portugal become member states and the Single European Act is signed, allowing free flow of trade across the EU. In 1993 the act is completed with the ‘four freedoms’ of: goods, movement, services, people and money and from 1995 onwards citizens of member states are allowed to travel without passports under the Schengen agreement. In 2002 the Euro was introduced and in 2004, ten new members join the EU. For more information on the history of the EU click here.
The theme of this year’s Europe Day is: Growing Stronger Together. Wise words which we should keep in mind, especially during times of economic crisis and austerity measures we should unit and not turn against each other.