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Bigger EU Celebrates Its Historic Beginnings

Bigger EU Celebrates Its Historic Beginnings Europe Day – 9 May

This Sunday, 9 May, marks the fifty-fourth anniversary of the founding of the European Union.

On 9 May 1950, France’s Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman, stood before representatives of the world’s media and proposed the concept of ‘European federation’. This idea, conceived 54 years ago in a Europe still reeling from the ravages of war and economic breakdown, has grown from the original European Coal and Steel Community to an entity of 25 Member States that is now the world’s largest trading bloc.

The European Union is also Australia’s largest trading partner and has been for the past 13 years.

“In the past a united Europe was not achieved, and so there was war,” Schuman said in his famous declaration. “The contribution which an organised and living Europe can bring to civilisation is indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations.”

In just over half a century, Europe has rebuilt itself as an important cultural and economic leader on the world stage. The EU is now a Union of 455 million people, which stretches from the western shores of Ireland to the border with Russia.

“Of all the EU’s achievements, peace in Europe is perhaps its greatest,” said Piergiorgio Mazzocchi, Ambassador to the Delegation of the European Commission to Australia and New Zealand. “European unity has made war amongst the countries of Europe unthinkable.”

It has also brought prosperity and a high standard of living for Europeans, benefits that will be progressively reaped by the ten latest countries to join the EU, following its most ambitious enlargement ever on 1 May.

The European Commission’s representation in Australia celebrated Europe Day on Monday, 10 May, in Canberra.

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