The European Union we live in today has been shaped by its history, which began many years ago in the wake of the Second World War. This peaceful and prosperous area came into being thanks to the energy and dedication of the European Union’s “founding fathers”. These visionary politicians came from varying backgrounds but were inspired by the same ideal: that of a united Europe. Robert Schuman was one of those politicians, and his Declaration, delivered on 9th May 1950, is considered to be the founding document of the EU.
The form in which this European area first took shape was the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The Community’s six founding countries were Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Their aim was to strengthen economic cooperation in order to prevent further conflicts from breaking out.
The European Union has changed a lot since then. As it has progressed from the Treaties of Rome, Amsterdam and Nice to the Lisbon Treaty, via the Single European Act, the Union has become much more than a purely economic partnership. Now with 28 Member States, it is active in a wide range of areas covering everything from development aid to the environment.
Europe Day is therefore an opportunity to remember the historical context in which the Union was created, the progress that has been made, the difficulties it has had to overcome, and the original aims of the European project.