On 9th May, the European Union celebrates Europe Day. On this day in 1950, then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman held his famous Schuman Declaration in Paris, which is today considered to be the founding act of the European Union (EU). In Luxembourg, Europe Day was declared an official holiday in 2019, making Luxembourg the only country in which this is hitherto the case.
Why is Europe Day a bank holiday in Luxembourg?
Luxembourg has been one of the EU's most fervent advocates since the beginnings of the European construction. Indeed, support for the EU remains at a high in Luxembourg, which is partially due to the open and multicultural nature of Luxembourg's society, and partially to the fact that Luxembourg has always been a small entity wedged between two of Europe's biggest powers. Therefore, Luxembourg most heartedly welcomes the promise that the EU holds, to safeguard peace on the continent and to ensure prosperity for all.
As a result, the country has supported the European construction at every step, from the signing of the European Community of Steel and Coal treaty in Luxembourg City in 1952, up to the signature of the Schengen Agreements in 1985 and beyond. Luxembourgers have understood that a peaceful Europe, the core goal of the Schuman Declaration, is beneficial to all. Add to this the fact that Luxembourg City is one of the three European Capitals, housing important institutions and administrations, and it becomes clear that the country has a lot of European commitment to show for its small size.
Luxembourg's residents embody Europe, crossing borders into neighbouring Germany, Belgium or France with as much ease as they speak one of the many languages spoken every day in Luxembourg. In a sense, Luxembourg's openness and multicultural attitude represent some of the core values of the European Union.
The Schuman Declaration – a revolution
In 1950, then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman advocated a revolutionary idea: uniting French and German coal and steel productions in one institution, in order to safeguard peace on the continent and share economic prosperity. The aim of the declaration was to establish an institution that would not only manage two economic goods, but which would create a common market and mark the beginnings of a political entity. Thus, the Schuman Declaration has come to be regarded by many as the founding act of the European Union, something that is being honoured since 1985 with the Europe Day.
Two years later, the European Community of Steel and Coal was founded; in 1957 the Treaty of Rome was signed. Luxembourg has participated in these and every subsequent treaties and agreements that deepened European cooperation.