Ημ/νια δημοσίευσης: Τετάρτη, 09 Μαΐου 2018

“Europe Day”: 68 years since the Schuman Declaration

Europe Day is held on 9 May each year, and celebrates peace and unity in Europe. It marks the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, which was presented by French foreign minister Robert Schuman on this date in 1950.It proposed the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community, whose members would pool coal and steel production, thus created a common market without tariff barriers. This new form of political cooperation in Europe was intended to prevent any possibility of war among European nations.1

The ECSC, whose founding members were France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, was the first of a series of supranational European institutions that would ultimately become today's “European Union”.2The original six deepened their economic integration with the establishment of the European Economic Community, with the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1958.. Today, the EU has 28 member countries.

In 1986 the Single European Act is signed. This is a treaty which provides the basis for a vast six-year programme aimed at sorting out the problems with the free flow of trade across EU borders and thus creates the ‘Single Market’.In 1993 the Single Market is completed with the 'four freedoms' of: movement of goods, services, people and money. The 1990s is also the decade of two treaties: the ‘Maastricht’ Treaty on EU in 1993 and the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999. In the first decade of 2000, more and more countries adopt the euro.A financial crisis hits the global economy in September 2008. The Treaty of Lisbon is ratified by all EU countries before entering into force in 2009. It provides the EU with modern institutions and more efficient working methods.3

The global economic crisis strikes hard in Europe. The EU helps several countries to confront their difficulties and establishes the 'Banking Union' to ensure safer and more reliable banks. Moreover, climate change is still high on the agenda and leaders agree to reduce harmful emissions. European elections are held in 2014 and more Eurosceptics are elected into the European Parliament.

To recapitulate, the specific challenges that the EU faces today – humanitarian, economic and sovereign – find an echo in the words of the Schuman Declaration: “World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it”.4