Today, like every May 9, we are celebrating the Europe Day. Perhaps this year seems less festive as we cannot physically attend any event. Yet, this does not mean that this day is neither less brotherly nor less heartfelt.
On this day, 70 years ago (May 9, 1950), Robert Schuman, at that time Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of France, presented his proposal to unify Europe and contribute to avoiding new war movements on the continent. The evolution of that initial proposal has led us to the European Union that we know today, forged from small, medium and even big steps; but in any case made from a common effort; political entities, economic and social operators, society in general and, of course, the institutions themselves.
This year we are celebrating a different day in Europe. Not only because of the circumstances that lead us to a more intimate commemoration, but also because we have lost a travelling companion, who has left behind the illusion of the project and has preferred to walk alone. Far from any criticism, but without losing the opportunity to express my opinion, I believe we are better inside.
The creation of the European Union, like any ambitious project, is precisely this: Moving forward, stumbling, falling, getting up, making mistakes, rectifying … Especially when it is a project that is unprecedented and, therefore, we cannot reflect on the achievements of others and learn from them. The mirror is ourselves, and that should make us feel all the pride in what we do, but also all the responsibility for the work, the image and the message we are sending to the world.
We are being told that the world will change because of the Covid-19. I don’t know where it is headed or what different challenges we will now have to take on. However, without any doubt, every challenge is an opportunity, and the European Union will have to work to become better and, above all, to make the world we live a better place. The European Union has the duty to watch over all citizens living in it, despite the obstacles it may have to face, coming from both external and internal sources.
Persistence, effort and responsibility.
Happy Europe Day 2020
José Ma. de Dios
Institute of European Studies
Autonomous University of Barcelona UAB