On 9 May, the European Union (EU) celebrates Europe Day to commemorate the Schuman declaration. This declaration, held in 1950 by the then French Foreign Minister, is now considered the founding act of the EU. In Luxembourg, Europe Day was declared a legal public holiday in 2019, making the Grand Duchy the only country to have made this choice for now.
Why is Europe Day a bank holiday in Luxembourg?
Luxembourg has been one of the EU's most fervent advocatessince the inception of the European project. In fact, support for the EU remains high in the Grand Duchy. This support is, in part, due to the open and multicultural nature of Luxembourg society, as well as the fact that Luxembourg has always been a landlocked country between two of Europe's superpowers - Germany and France. Thus, Luxembourg actively welcomes the EU's pledge to preserve peace on the continent and ensure prosperity for all.
Consequently, the Grand Duchy has played a key role in the construction of Europe at every stage, from the adoption of the treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community in Luxembourg in 1952, to the signing of the Schengen agreements in 1985, as well as other treaties.Luxembourgers have understood that a peaceful Europe, the main goal of the Schuman declaration, is beneficial to all. Moreover, as Luxembourg City is one of the three European Capitals, and home to important institutions and administrations, it is clear that the country, despite its relatively small size, is fully committed to the European project.
The residents of the Grand Duchy embody the true spirit of Europe, as they cross the borders of their German, Belgian or French neighbours with as much ease as they speak one of the many languages used on a daily basis in Luxembourg. The country's openness and multicultural mindset thus represent some of the fundamental values of the European Union.
Did you know?
Robert Schuman was born on 29 June 1886 in Luxembourg city!
His father was a German customs officer from Lorraine and his mother was Luxembourgish. He was therefore German by birth, but the mother tongue of the future French minister was Luxembourgish.
His birthplace is located in the suburb of Clausen. Since 2019, this building has been used by the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH).
The Schuman Declaration – a revolution
In 1950, then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman put forward a revolutionary idea: to unite 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 resources, but which would create a common market and set the foundation for a new political entity. Thus, the Schuman Declaration is considered by many as the founding act of the European Union, an event that has been honoured since 1985 with the Europe Day.
Two years after the Schuman Declaration, the European Coal and Steel Community was created, followed by the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957. Luxembourg was actively involved in all these decisive steps, as well as in all the subsequent treaties and agreements that helped to deepen European cooperation.