Celebrating Our 9 May Europe Day

The first step in the process that led to today’s EU was taken on May 9, 1950. Celebrated as Europe Day since 1985, May 9th offers an opportunity for taking a fresh look at this 60-year success story...

The famous French bureaucrat Jean Monnet’s dream of a European Union became reality, through a declaration by then-French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman. Every year since 1985 the European Union has been celebrating the success it has achieved in the cause of peace, freedom, prosperity and co-existence on ‘Europe Day, May 9th’.


Membership negotiations commenced in 2005 following a unanimous decision that Turkey had adequately met the necessary political criteria on the road to EU membership. Turkey is pursuing membership negotiations with determination and getting closer to the EU each day through the political, economic and social transformation that has gathered momentum during the membership process.


French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), originally designed by Jean Monnet, on May 9, 1950. Announced to the international press in a statement known as the Schuman Declaration, the project constituted the first concrete step towards the European Union. The idea behind Schuman’s proposal was that by turning over the production and use of coal and steel, the principal materials of the war industry, as a whole to a common European higher authority, the purpose of unification and a lasting peace in Europe would be achieved. Later this purpose contributed significantly to the member countries of the European Union becoming a great power politically and economically. Coming together at the Milan Summit in 1985, the EU leaders therefore decided to celebrate May 9th every year as ‘Europe Day’.


Europe Day, May 9th, is being celebrated this year in Ankara in a festival to be held in the city’s Gençlik Parkı (Youth Park) as a joint effort of the Secretariat General for EU Affairs, the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality, the Delegation of the European Union to Turkey, and the Embassy of Spain, current EU Term President. The festivities will kick off with a bicycle tour in which Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bağış and Ankara Mayor will take part along with EU Ambassadors in Ankara, and member country Embassies will set up stands to share their national cultures with the Turkish people. The bicycle is regarded as a symbol of European Union integration, and the Secretariat General for EU Affairs this year would like to draw attention to the theme, “We must work together with resolve for integration with the EU.” As part of the May 9th Europe Day Festivities, Europe Day is being commemorated on National Lottery tickets to be drawn that day as well as on PTT (Post, Telephone and Telegraph) stamps that will go into circulation the same day. The last but not the least, on May 15th, a Europe Day Concert will take place under the auspices of Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator and his wife, in İstanbul Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall.