Today, May 9th, the European Union celebrates Europe Day to commemorate the day in 1950 when French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed consolidating the coal and steel industries of Europe, binding nations so closely together that renewed war would be unthinkable. The “Schuman Declaration” is considered to be the beginning of the creation of what is now the European Union of 27 Member States – very soon 28 Member States.
On behalf of President Obamaand the people of the United States, Secretary Clinton sent best wishes to the people of the European Union as they celebrate Europe Day. She said she was “grateful for the vital role the EU plays around the world” and added that “from its leadership on bringing peace to the Middle East to its support for dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, to its commitment to isolating oppressive regimes and its support of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, the EU continues to help solve global problems”.On the occasion of Europe Day, the Euronews channel recorded a half-hour interview with the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, at the Council’s headquarters in Brussels. He stated that “we have our own languages, we have 23 languages in Europe. We have a special identity in each of our member states and a very specific situation due to our history but what we have to do is to create every time we can, and a crisis period is a very fruitful period for this. Unfortunately, we have to create more Europe, more European integration”.
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso pointed out in a statement that Europe has over the past two years made “very important progress in building a true economic union” and that “more has been achieved in the last two years than the previous ten.” Noting that new momentum is clearly building to kick-start the stalled engine of European growth, President Barroso called for the EU to seize upon this new momentum to deliver on the many proposals for stability and growth that the European Commission has put forward.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, stated that Europe Day should also be an opportunity to look forward: “The coming year will be crucial for Europe’s recovery – and for Europe’s future. Not only the steps we take internally in the European Union on the economy and with Croatia joining in July. But also how we engage globally.” She noted that “Europe has always been outward looking and open. We have consistently influenced the way the world thinks – about trade, the environment, climate change, the death penalty, the International Criminal Court, and many other important issues. I am convinced that Europe must remain actively engaged around the world. And equally, that our international work can help to underpin our economic recovery.
Ambassador João Vale de Almeida, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United States, stressed that: “As the EU Member States and the Delegation celebrate Europe Day in the United States, we appreciate especially the strong U.S. support for European integration since its very inception and continuing today. U.S. vision and support were vital for the creation of a united, peaceful, stable and prosperous Europe and our transatlantic cooperation today offers many opportunities to create growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic and contributes to the security of our citizens and the world at large.”