9th May, Europe Day
Union built upon steel foundations, driven by the wings of peace
“World peace cannot be defended without creative efforts proportional to the dangers that endanger it” – are the opening lines of the Declaration known as Shuman’s, on whose basis today’s European Union is arranged.
Four years after the end of World War II, one of the bloodiest in the history of the human race, on 9 May 1950 in Paris, France, foundations were established of what we today recognize as the European Union. On this date, the French Foreign Minister, Robert Shuman, presented the Declaration and the idea for establishing a European community for coal and steel, in order to establish common control over these raw materials and in future to be used in peacetime goals. The idea also was to unite the countries which were former opponents, above all Germany, France and the other countries that were willing to leave the past behind and build better common future. Actually, in a quite symbolic way, steel and coal, one of the basic raw materials that war industry is based upon, have now become peace catalysts.
Vision for peace and cooperation
A few visionaries, among which Konrad Adenauer, Winston Churchill, Alchide de Gasperi and Robert Shuman, five years after the war founded today’s EU. Firstly, in 1951, the European Community for Coal and Steel was founded and six countries were its members – Belgium, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Luxemburg and Holland. In 1957 the European Economic Community and the European Community for Atomic Energy (Euroatom) were founded. With the Maastricht Agreement (1991), EEC was renamed in European Community and after that, by adding new regions of acting, the European Union was founded. It was followed by Agreements from Amsterdam (1197) and Nice (2001) that established new principles for wide union that covered many new regions where common policy was built.
The work for common prosperity and development was the thing that reconciled “the winners” and “the defeated” from the war. Today in the EU no one thinks of nobody under these terms. The vision of the few big politicians became one of the most successful examples for building peace, cooperation and reconciliation in the world. That makes the European Union special. The principles that keep it stronger than steel foundations and the liberal ideas that the EU citizens have been flying with for 55 years on the wings of peace.
Common values and standards
Today, the European Union, as well as the other European countries that see their future in the EU, celebrate Europe Day and at the same time 55 years from the Shuman’s Declaration. Economic and social development, ecological and regional dimension, are the values upon which the European Union is built. The principles respected by all citizens have been added to them – human rights, social solidarity, free entrepreneurship, just allocation of the results from the economic development, right to healthy environment, cultural, language and religious diversity, harmonic connection between tradition and advancement…Therefore, this year the Europe Day’s motto is “United in diversity”).
European Union is drafted to be a service to its citizens. A mechanism is established for strong and free civil participation, so apart from the existence of a seemingly complicated system consisted of national governments and common European bodies, such democratic principle has enabled dignified and prosperous life for its citizens.
For Macedonia, this year celebration of the Europe Day is of special importance. This year, Macedonia is expecting to make a significant step closer to the EU membership. However, the citizens of Macedonia should know that EU membership, apart from benefits, also carries obligations for respecting the basic standards and virtuous principles that the Union is pride of. Macedonia should build such standards and principles by itself, in itself and as its contribution, to introduce them, soon, one lovely day, to the EU.
Central celebration in Moscow
Six decades since the great victory
Parallel to the celebration of Europe Day, this year marks 60 years since the victory over fascism in Europe. Moscow, in the Russian Federation, is where the central manifestation will be held on 9 May, where official representatives from all over the world will take part. The organization committee, led by the president Vladimir Putin, has already prepared the celebration’s program, called “Victory”. For more information on this manifestation go to www.may9.ru.
Europe Day in Macedonia
This year the association “European movement in the Republic of Macedonia” for the fifth time coordinates the celebration of 9 May in our country, in cooperation with the International European Movement from Brussels, the European Commission Delegation in our country, the Euro-integration Sector of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, Conrad Adenauer Fondation and the Council of Europe. This year the celebration’s motto will be “A step forward“, as an allusion of the progress in the process of euro-integration. The activities will last from 1 to 9 May and their objective is to motivate public awareness for the European values, to mobilize citizens, especially young people, for the process of euro-integration, to develop a public dialogue for this process, to accept reforms and system changes as a precondition for Macedonia’s quality joining the EU.
On Pelister, from 1-3 May, there will be a youth educative-recreation camp, and from 4-6 May tribunes and workshops for euro-integration. On 6 May Shtul University will host a European student’s seminar where students from all universities in Macedonia will take part. On 8 May there will be solemn academy and on 9 May, in the morning, the Chief of the European Commission delegation will pass on the EU flag and together with the Macedonian flag it will be put on a few mountain peaks in the country. In the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia there will be an international conference on “Our big PRO for the new Europe’s Constitution” and on the Macedonia square there will be an organized happening with sports and scene activities, symbolically presenting Macedonia’s “race” on the road to the EU.
Accompanying activities will be organized by other organizations, too. In 12 towns where there are NGO support centers (supported by the Open Society Institute of Macedonia Foundation, the European Agency for Reconstruction and the Swiss Development Agency) that are simultaneously EU info-points, numerous activities will be organized for the Europe Day.
D-r Dimitar Mirchev, president of the European Movement in Macedonia
9 May – stimulus and challenge for Macedonia
Commemoration of the Europe Day, 9 May, is jubilee for both Europe and Macedonia. Sixty years since the end of World War II and the victory over fascism, but also thirty years since the beginning of the so-called Helsinki process that has laid the foundations of modern Europe. Fifteen years after introducing democratic order and Macedonia’s turning to Europe, whose Union this year is to make official our application for an equal member.
After fifteen years of hard temptations and efforts to win our independence and sovereignty and to deal with the market laws and ownership economy, with democratic relations and respect of human rights and civil freedoms, today it seems that the most difficult is past. That getting closer to the family of free, prosperous and united European nations is real, close and feasible. Macedonia is already in a dynamics and procedure of accession to the Union: it can be accelerated or decelerated, but it cannot be stopped or changed.
However, the jubilee and the Europe Day, mark above all the Macedonian society and civil sector, because they are a part of the European society, business, culture, science and education. Governments only service the political mechanism of integration. Macedonian economy, civil sector, social, ethnic, religious and local communities, public and non-profitable institutions, professional and interest associations, are the ones that really integrate; they give their real contribution and involve our economic, cultural, educational and democratic potentials in the European society, civilization, economy and politics.
The European Movement in the Republic of Macedonia has been a part and a full member of the International European Movement with headquarters in Brussels since 1992. It covers, coordinates and directs the efforts of many circles of the civil sector, ethnic communities, youth and students, business and intelligence in Macedonia, a clear European culture and value orientation to be profiled in the country, to make our production European, exchange, services, to stimulate them towards European trends. The Movement has five branches in the big towns of the country, it has more than twenty collective members and sponsors, it organizes mass and quality educational, informative, communication and research programs. Just in this year’s commemoration of 9 May, the Movement will have more than twenty manifestations of international and national character, throughout the country. Soon, in May, Euro-network of civil society organizations and associations in Macedonia will be formed and it should actively take part in the European Civil Forum, Union’s civil counterpart.
Our efforts are the public, youth and organized civil sector to approach Europe not as an obligation and destiny, but as a challenge and stimulus, both for Macedonia and ourselves.