Europe Day must be made a public holiday !

, by Fabien Cazenave, Translated by Pauline Gessant

Europe Day must be made a public holiday !
Europe Day 1997 poster Source: the European Commission http://europa.eu/abc/symbols/9-may/gallery_en.htm

The European public space is still partitioned into multiple national public spaces. Yet there are powerful symbols that unite the Europeans. For example, the European flag is known and appreciated by all citizens of our continent. Even abroad, this flag is universally recognized as representing Europe. There is another symbol, but is still very poorly known, the Europe Day. To change this situation, we must make it a public holiday.

A day of celebration but an invisible day

In European symbols, there is a date which is defined as “Europe Day”, May 9th. This choice refers to what is considered the true start of European integration, the Schuman declaration. On the 9th May 1950, Robert Schuman presented his proposal for an organized Europe, indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations. This declaration led to the ECSC, the European Coal and Steel Community. This proposal, known as the “Schuman declaration”, is considered as the birth of the European Union. Nowadays, May 9th has become a European symbol (Europe Day) which, alongside the flag, anthem, motto and the single currency (the euro), identifies the European Union as a political entity.

However, this date which could be a symbol of unity of our continent is totally unknown to the general public. You can go to work that day without realizing that there are events throughout France and Europe. With some luck, there may be a story for the evening news because of a European meeting with personalities that will make a statement to say that Europe, “it is important”... all without great political vision.

When will leaders call for a public holiday on May 9th ?

It is incomprehensible that all these political leaders, which always repeat in their speech the importance of Europe, do not draw the consequence and do not propose to make a public holiday on May 9th. Especially there is a political logic to celebrate such a day: realize how lucky we are to live together in peace and remember where we came from.

Instead, we have a day of 8th May to commemorate the fact that we managed to overcome yesterday our friends of today. Getting the holiday from May 8th to May 9th would be a beautiful symbol from the countries of Western Europe. This shows that we do not stop at the separation of yesterday (the former Eastern European countries celebrating the 1945 armistice on May 9th, the Soviet victory over the Nazis), but we want to write the future history together. Similarly, we could very well make a holiday on May 8th and May 9th as well after all. This would recall how the atrocities of the past are behind us. Having two holidays in a row will create new habits among citizens who organize their leisure certainly different during this time of year ...

For all these reasons, we must make May 9th a public holiday. The construction of Europe deserves to have a day for it since it has revolutionized the history of our continent for over 50 years.

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