May 9: A day of celebration

Lieven Taillie
Open Days at the European Parliament in Brussels. Credit: European Parliament

Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) As we approaching May 9, it can be fruitful in these troubled times to stand still and reflect on how some historical events are remembered and what their meaning is for citizens and communities today. May 9 is Europe Day in the EU. In Russia and several other countries, most often former soviet republics, they celebrate that same day Victory Day to remember the surrender of Germany at the end of the Second World War and the victory over Nazism.

In Moscow, it is tradition now to hold an impressive Victory Day parade. This is in contrast to the way EU countries celebrate how Europe started its process towards unity, thus ensuring enduring peace and collaboration amongst its member states and creating a European citizenship.

On May 9 1950, the then French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Robert Schuman, pronounced in the Salon de l’Horloge of the Quai d’Orsay, a speech inspired and prepared by Jean Monnet, now known as the Schuman Declaration, announcing the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community subjugated to a common High Authority, forerunner to the European Commission today.

Now a longstanding tradition, EU institutions, including EU delegations and representations worldwide, mark the occasion by organising a wide range of online and on-site activities, providing citizens of all ages with the opportunity to discover and experience how the institutions work for them.

This year special attention will given to how the EU is coping with Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the start of the European year of Skills. An overview of all activities has been prepared for the public in 24 languages. In Brussels the doors of the institutions open on Saturday May 6.

In Luxembourg, the Court of Justice and the house where Robert Schuman was born will open their doors to the public on Tuesday May 9. Finally, on Saturday May 13, the European Parliament in Strasbourg will follow suite and invite citizens to explore its grounds.

Not only public organisations, but also several private organisations and cultural venues, will take part in the festivities all over Europe and worldwide. The Robert Schuman Foundation has published a French-language overview of some of the events taking place across Europe. In Brussels, the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts will organise a special event the evening of May 9. Tickets are still available and can be reserved, free of charge, on their official website.

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Brussels Morning is a daily online newspaper based in Belgium. BM publishes unique and independent coverage on international and European affairs. With a Europe-wide perspective, BM covers policies and politics of the EU, significant Member State developments, and looks at the international agenda with a European perspective.
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Lieven Taillie is Brussels Morning editor-in-chief, specialized in European Affairs, with more than 25 years of experience. He is the President of the Belgian sector of the Association of European Journalists.