Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) On May 9th, the European Union celebrated its annual Europe Day, a day dedicated to promoting peace and unity across the continent. However, the day was marked by anxiety as Ukraine watched from the wings, still grappling with the ongoing conflict with Russia.
French President Emmanuel Macron led the traditional ceremony on Paris’ Champs Elysées to commemorate the end of World War II, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe. However, the ceremony lacked the usual crowds.
Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen marked Europe Day in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, alongside President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Von der Leyen emphasized the EU’s support for Kyiv in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression, stating that “Ukraine has been fighting for the ideals of Europe that we celebrate today to create lasting unity and peace.”
During their meeting, Zelenskyy and von der Leyen discussed topics such as European integration, defense matters, and sanctions against Russia. Zelenskyy underscored the need for continued efforts towards a united Europe, stating that “our efforts for a united Europe, for security and peace, need to be as strong as Russia’s desire to destroy our security, our freedom, our Europe.”
As Europe celebrates peace and unity, it is important to remember the ongoing conflicts and challenges faced by some of its member states, and the continued efforts needed to maintain peace and stability across the continent.
On Europe Day, Stéphane Séjourné, President of Renew Europe, has made a rallying call to build a Europe of tomorrow, ready to move beyond crisis management, built on green energy, harnessing technological change, and modernized institutions. This new Europe can only be built from a progressive, centrist alliance.
“Europe Day is an opportunity to celebrate all the achievements and opportunities provided by European peace and integration. As the pro-European Group in the European Parliament, we are determined to build a stronger, reformed Union with citizens at its heart. The Europe of tomorrow will be built from the political center.”
“A new determination to think about the Europe of tomorrow is essential. We, as European parliamentarians, are waiting for this vision from the capitals. The vision of a change of era. Crisis management is not enough. We must prevent the next one. We must foresee and build.”
“Renew Europe is proud that some of our proposals, such as transnational lists and the end of unanimity in foreign policy, which were put forward by the FDP, are now the official proposals of the German government. Our Europe must be faithful to the sacrifice of the Ukrainians by being ready to receive in the best conditions the countries that have the vocation to join our European family.”