Europe Day

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Europe Day
European Flag displayed in Strasbourg (France) during Europe Day 2009
Observed byCouncil of Europe
European Union
TypePan-European; cultural and historical
SignificanceEuropean integration
Date5 and 9 May

Europe Day is a day celebrating "peace and unity in Europe"[1][2] celebrated on 5 May by the Council of Europe and on 9 May by the European Union.

The first recognition of Europe Day was by the Council of Europe, introduced in 1964.[3] The European Union later started to celebrate its own European Day[4] in commemoration of the 1950 Schuman Declaration which first proposed the European Coal and Steel Community, leading it to be referred to by some as "Schuman Day" or "Day of the united Europe".[5] Both days are celebrated by displaying the Flag of Europe.[6]


People marching behind a banner in a parade
A Europe Day parade in Warsaw, Poland.

The Council of Europe was founded on 5 May 1949, and hence it chose that day for its celebrations when it established the holiday in 1964.[7]

The "Europe Day" of the EU was introduced in 1985 by the European Communities (the predecessor organisation of the EU).[8][9] The date commemorates the Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950, put forward by Robert Schuman, which proposed the pooling of French, Italian and West German coal and steel industries.[10] This led to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community, the first European Community, established on 18 April 1951.[11]

A "raft of cultural icons" was launched by the European Commission in 1985, in reaction to the report by the ad hoc commission "for a People's Europe" chaired by Pietro Adonnino. The aim was to facilitate European integration by fostering a Pan-European identity among the populations of the EC member states. The European Council adopted "Europe Day" along with the flag of Europe and other items on 29 June 1985, in Milan.[12]

Europe Day festivities in Yerevan, Armenia.

Following the foundation of the European Union in 1993, observance of Europe Day by national and regional authorities increased significantly. Germany in particular has gone beyond celebrating just the day, since 1995 extending the observance to an entire "Europe Week" (Europawoche [de]) centered on 9 May. In Poland, the Schuman Foundation [pl], a Polish organisation advocating European integration established in 1991, first organised its Warsaw Schuman Parade [pl] on Europe Day 1999, at the time advocating the accession of Poland to the EU.

Observance of 9 May as "Europe Day" was reported "across Europe" as of 2008.[13] In 2019, 9 May became an official public holiday in Luxembourg each year, to mark Europe Day.[14] The EU's choice of the date of foundation of the European Coal and Steel Community rather than that of the EU itself established a narrative in which Schuman's speech, concerned with inducing economic growth and cementing peace between France and Germany, is presented as anticipating a "vocation of the European Union to be the main institutional framework" for the much further-reaching European integration of later decades.[15]

The European Constitution would have legally enshrined all the European symbols in the EU treaties; however, the treaty failed to be ratified in 2005, and usage would continue only in the present de facto manner. The Constitution's replacement, the Treaty of Lisbon, contains a declaration by sixteen members supporting the symbols.[16] The European Parliament "formally recognised" Europe Day in October 2008.[17]

Celebrations and commemorations[edit]

Open Doors Day[edit]

The EU institutions open their doors to the public every year in Brussels and Strasbourg, allowing citizens to visit these places. Moreover, many of these organize commemorative events to honor the historical importance of the date.[18]

The bodies that choose to make this symbolic gesture are:

In 2020 and 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent inability to host physical events, the EU institutions organized virtual acts to pay tribute to all those Europeans who were collaborating in the fight against the pandemic. Furthermore, 2020 marked the 70th anniversary of the Schuman declaration and the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Given the occasion, the above-mentioned EU institutions launched several online events to commemorate the importance of the date.[19][20]

Legal recognition[edit]

Europe Day is a public holiday for employees of European Union institutions.[21] In 2019, it was declared a public holiday in Luxembourg,[22] and is also a public holiday in Kosovo.[23] It is a "memorial day" in Croatia, which is a legally-recognised day, but is not a public holiday;[24][25] a legally-recognised commemorative day in Lithuania;[26] and a "flag day" (German: Beflaggungstag) in Germany, where flags are ordered to be shown by federal decree.[27] Europe Day is also celebrated in Romania,[28] where it coincides with the State Independence Day of Romania (Romania's independence day).[29]

Between 2003 and 2023, Europe Day was celebrated in Ukraine on the third Saturday of May. On 8 May 2023, the President of Ukraine[30] established a decree to celebrate Europe Day on May 9, coinciding with EU member states.[31][32][33][34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Europe Day". European Union. 16 June 2016. Archived from the original on 1 July 2019. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  2. ^ "Día de Europa: ¿Cuándo y por qué se celebra?" [Europe Day: When and why is it celebrated?]. (in Spanish). 5 June 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  3. ^ "5 May: Europe Day".
  4. ^ Nicole Scicluna, European Union Constitutionalism in Crisis, Routledge (2014), p. 56
  5. ^ Does the EU have a "National" Day? Archived 4 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine, European Commission Delegation to Ukraine.
  6. ^ Due to the objection against adopting symbols of statehood, the 1985 adoption of the "European flag" had only been possible by avoiding the official use of the term "flag", so that the "European flag" is still officially "a logo or emblem eligible to be reproduced on rectangular pieces of fabric". (Scicluna, 2014, p. 56) The proposal to officially adopt it as the flag of the EU was made in the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (2004) which however failed to be ratified. Instead, the Treaty of Lisbon (2007) includes an annex signed by sixteen members which declares that the European flag, anthem, motto, currency, and Europe Day "will for them continue as symbols to express the sense of community of the people in the European Union and their allegiance to it."
  7. ^ "5 May – Europe Day". Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  8. ^ A people's Europe. Supplement 7/85 Bulletin of the European Communities (Report). Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. 1985. hdl:10234/49877. ISBN 92-825-5637-9. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  9. ^ Conclusions of the European Council in Milan, 28-29 June 1985 (PDF) (Report). European Council. 29 June 1985. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  10. ^ Anonymous (16 June 2016). "The Schuman Declaration – 9 May 1950". European Union. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  11. ^ "The European Communities". CVCE.EU by UNI.LU. 7 August 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  12. ^ Nicole Scicluna, European Union Constitutionalism in Crisis, Routledge (2014), p. 55.
  13. ^ Lamming, R. (9 May 2008) Europe Day, but not in Britain Archived 4 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Federal Union
  14. ^ "Europe Day, extra vacation day passed by MPs – Delano – Luxembourg in English". Delano (in French). 27 March 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  15. ^ Scicluna (2014:56), citing F. Larat, "Present-ing the Past: Political Narratives on European History and the Justification of EU Integration", (PDF) German Law Journal 6.2 (2005), 274–290.
  16. ^ "Official Journal of the European Union, 2007 C 306-2 , p. 267". Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  17. ^ Kubosova, Lucia (9 October 2008). "No prolonged mandate for Barroso, MEPs warn". EU Observer. Retrieved 9 October 2008. "with the fate of the Lisbon Treaty still unclear, the European Parliament on Wednesday decided to officially recognise EU flag, anthem and motto as the symbols of the bloc's plenary. The anthem, based on the "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, will be performed at the opening ceremony following each European election and at formal sittings. The motto, 'United in diversity', will be reproduced on all Parliament's official documents, and the celebration of Europe Day on 9 May will be also formally recognised, says a report approved by 503 votes in favour 96 against and 15 abstentions. The symbols were first officially referred to by the European Constitution, a document rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005 and replaced by the Lisbon Treaty, which does not mention them."
  18. ^ Anonymous (16 June 2016). "Europe Day". European Union. Archived from the original on 1 July 2019. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  19. ^ Anonymous (16 June 2016). "Europe Day". European Union. Archived from the original on 1 July 2019. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  20. ^ PRZYBYLSKI, Piotr (14 March 2017). "Europe Day 2020". European Union. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  21. ^ "On public holidays for 2020 for the institutions of the European Union". Article 1, Commission Decision No. 2019/C 38/05 of 28 January 2019. European Commission.
  22. ^ Brenton, Hannah (27 March 2019). "MPs make it official: two extra days holiday this year". Luxembourg Times. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  23. ^ "Festat Zyrtare – State Portal of the Republic of Kosovo". (in Albanian). Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  24. ^ "Public Holidays in Croatia 2020 & Memorial Days". Visit Croatia. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  25. ^ "Government of the Republic of Croatia – PM: New calendar of public holidays, memorial days will clear doubts, vagueness". Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  26. ^ "ATMINTINŲ DIENŲ ĮSTATYMAS" [Memorial Days – The Law]. Article 1(24), No. 0971010ISTAVIII-397 of 1 January 2020 (in Lithuanian). Seimas.
  27. ^ "Regelmäßige allgemeine Beflaggungstage". Protokoll Inland der Bundesregierung (in German). Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  28. ^ Pavaluca, Luana (9 May 2021). "Ziua Europei 2021. Ce evenimente au loc în al doilea an al pandemiei". Digi24 (in Romanian).
  29. ^ Buciu, Laura (9 May 2021). "9 Mai – Ziua Europei și Ziua Independenței de Stat a României". Mediafax (in Romanian).
  30. ^ Decree of the President of Ukraine from 8 травня 2023 year № 266/2023 «Про День Європи» (in Ukrainian)
  31. ^ "President's Decree declares May 9 as Europe Day in Ukraine". Retrieved 8 May 2023.
  32. ^ Service, RFE/RL's Ukrainian. "Zelenskiy Declares May 9 'Europe Day' Ahead Of Russia's World War II Anniversary". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 8 May 2023.
  33. ^ Mueller, Julia (8 May 2023). "Ukraine will now celebrate 'Europe Day' on Russia's 'Victory Day'". The Hill. Retrieved 8 May 2023.
  34. ^ "EU on Ukraine's decision to celebrate Europe Day on 9 May: "Reflection of the European identity of the Ukrainian people"". Ukrainska Pravda. Retrieved 8 May 2023.

External links[edit]