Europe Day is a yearly observance, held every 9th of May, that honors the values of peace and togetherness in the European continent. This day is notably tied to the historic Schuman Declaration, a significant 1950 proclamation by French foreign minister Robert Schuman that called for a united, democratic Europe as an antidote to the regular, destructive wars between nations in close proximity.

On Europe Day, a range of events and activities are staged to highlight European unity, cultivate a sense of European uniqueness, and to spread information about the advantages of the European Union to its citizens. The observance of Europe Day underscores a unified commitment to a harmonious and thriving Europe.

History of Europe Day

Once a speech made by the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman in 1950 following the devastation of World War II, Europe Day has evolved into an international celebration that takes place every year on May 9th. Schuman’s address, now known as the ‘Schuman Declaration’, made a case for a unique organization that could coordinate European countries to prevent the recurrence of such devastating conflicts.

Schuman proposed a union based on coal and steel resources, the cornerstone elements of warfare. He thought that by managing these industries collectively, nations could bound together and future conflicts would be less likely. This marked the birth of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951, a pivotal step towards integrated Europe that gradually led to the European Union as we know it today.

Europe Day was first commemorated in 1964, but it wasn’t officially referred to as such by the Council of Europe until 1985. Since then, every May 9th witnesses a series of informative and cultural events that not only bring European citizens together but also bring them closer to the ideals of unity and peace that the EU embodies.

Europe Day gained its true recognition in 2007 when during the German Presidency, EU institutions opened up for the public for the first time in early May. It became a day to educate global citizens about the EU, its history and its cultures. Although it’s defined as a public holiday in several countries, EU employees are not entitled to a day off on this date.

Europe Day Timeline

End of World War II

The end of the second world disaster marks a new era for Europe and the entire world, ensuing the need for unity and cooperation.

Robert Schuman's Declaration

French foreign minister Robert Schuman proposed the idea of an integrated Europe with the pooling of coal and steel production.

Treaty of Rome

Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands signed the Treaty of Rome, creating the European Economic Community.

Europe Day is First Celebrated

The first 'Europe Day' was celebrated by the Council of Europe. The original day selected was May 5th.

Change of Date

European leaders changed the date of Europe Day to May 9 to commemorate the Schuman Declaration.

Maastricht Treaty

Coming into force, the Maastricht Treaty established the European Union as succeeding from the EEC.

Nobel Peace Prize

The European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.

Ideas to Celebrate Europe Day

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Euro Cuisine Feast

Prepare a meal featuring dishes from different countries in Europe. Make a pizza from Italy, a moussaka from Greece and a strudel from Austria to celebrate the diversity.

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European Movie Marathon

Host a movie marathon featuring films from different European countries. It's a fun way to learn about different cultures and experience storytelling from different perspectives.

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European Cultural Exhibition

Organize an exhibition that showcases the art, history, and culture of different European countries. Invite friends and contacts to contribute pieces or informational content.

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Euro Music Festival

Create a festival-in-your-living-room by spending the day listening to music from different European countries. Research and discover new artists, genres, and sounds based on your preference.

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European Wine and Cheese Tasting

Host a European wine and cheese party. With a selection of both from various regions across Europe, guests can taste and learn about the different flavors and histories each one carries.

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European History Quiz

Hold a fun quiz night with friends and family based on the history of Europe. Compete for who knows the most about the various eras, events, and people who shaped the continent.

6 Interesting Facts About Europe Day

1.

Schuman Declaration

May 9 was chosen by the European Union because on this day in 1950 the Schuman Declaration was presented, proposing the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community, the forerunner to the European Union.

2.

No Public Holiday

Despite being celebrated across Europe, Europe Day is not a public holiday in EU countries. Only a few areas, such as the Italian region of Veneto, recognize it as such.

3.

Symbols of Unity

On Europe Day, the EU flag — made up of 12 golden stars on a blue background — is prominently displayed in various locations across the continent. The ‘Ode to Joy’ from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is also typically played as it’s the anthem of the EU.

4.

European Neighborhood Policy

Europe Day is not limited to EU member states. Countries partnering with the EU through the European Neighborhood Policy and candidates for accession also often celebrate the day.

5.

Open Door Events

To help citizens feel closer to the European Union, Europe Day is often marked by 'Open Doors' events, where EU institutions open their doors to the public. People can explore and learn about the work of these bodies.

6.

The Birth of EU

Many consider Europe Day as the birth of the European Union. While not a 'birth' in the traditional sense, it is the anniversary of the first move towards the creation of what is now known as the European Union.

Europe Day FAQs

Next Europe Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 May 9th Tuesday
2024 May 9th Thursday
2025 May 9th Friday
2026 May 9th Saturday
2027 May 9th Sunday
What is the pattern? Every May 9th

Europe Day Word Search

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  • Integration
  • European
  • Union
  • Cooperation
  • Democracy
  • Harmony