Europe Day held on 9 May every year celebrates peace and unity in Europe. The date marks the anniversary of the historic 'Schuman declaration'. At a speech in Paris in 1950, Robert Schuman, the then French foreign minister, set out his idea for a new form of cooperation in Europe, which would make war between Europe's nations unthinkable.
His vision, inspired by Jean Monnet, was to create a European institution that would pool and manage coal and steel production. A treaty creating such a body was signed just under a year later. The proposal is considered to be the beginning of what is now the European Union.
This year Europe Day celebrations come at a difficult time. The COVID-19 pandemic has spread across many countries and has also affected partners in Guyana, Suriname and the Overseas Territories. The EU like the rest of affected countries is focused on navigating these troubling times, but also in helping its partner countries to get through the crisis.
EU Ambassador Fernando Ponz Cantó, highlighted that, ''On Europe Day it is time to recall our core values of Peace, Democracy and Unity. This is even more important in the current circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which call for solidarity and fraternity. We will overcome this crisis working together and we will come out more united and strong. And even though this year we are unable to open our doors in order to ensure health and safety, we can still mark the day, together in distance. ''
Beyond the current challenges it is important to look back and see that the EU has delivered more than half a century of peace between its Member States, but also greatly promoted stability and prosperity, helped raise living standards and launched a single European currency. The EU plays a key role in diplomacy and works to foster peace, good governance and the rule of law at international level, to consolidate multilateral rules-based international relations, and to support its partners to achieve inclusive and sustainable development.
The work continues every day, in Europe and beyond. The EU is more determined than ever to advance together with its partners and friends towards a common future of Peace, Democracy, governance, human rights, sustainable and inclusive development, prosperity and progress.