This Friday on the 75th anniversary of VE Day people all over the world will pause to remember the day the guns fell silent in Europe after terrible years of bloodshed, destruction, and atrocity, and to honour the courage and perseverance of those whose work, struggle and sacrifice contributed to the defeat of the Nazi terror. The COVID-19 emergency has meant that the planned street-parties, parades and flypasts have been cancelled, but you can still mark the day at home.
Why we celebrate Europe Day on Saturday 9th May
It is fitting that the day after VE Day- Saturday 9th May – is Europe Day, marking the 70th anniversary of the presentation of the Schuman Declaration.
In the aftermath of the destruction of World War 2 French foreign minister Robert Schuman proposed a new relationship – initially between France and Germany but “open to all countries willing to take part” – to replace the division and rivalry that led to war with friendship, solidarity and peaceful cooperation. It led within a year to the foundation of the European Coal and Steel Community, though from the start Robert Schuman envisaged a far deeper union between the countries of Europe, as the Declaration states.
“The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe, and will change the destinies of those regions which have long been devoted to the manufacture of munitions of war, of which they have been the most constant victims.”
As the COVID-19 crisis plunges the world into an economic crisis as damaging and dangerous as the great depression, and right-wing populists from Donald Trump to Viktor Orbán to Jair Bolsonaro to Nigel Farage tell the big lies and fan the flames of hatred and division, the dangers are all too obvious.
To defeat the threat the populists pose we need to remember not only the courage and sacrifice of those who dies to defeat fascism in World War 2, but also the courage and farsightedness of those who sought “through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity” to create a more peaceful and prosperous future for all.
On 9th May we will celebrate the new vision of people like Robert Schuman, and the Europe that they and their successors have built and continue to build today.
8 ways to celebrate Europe Day!
Social distancing may mean we can’t get together to celebrate Europe Day at a picnic or punting trip as in years past, but the COVID-19 crisis had highlighted just how interconnected we all are, as individuals and as countries.
Here are a few suggestions for you to show your love for Europe and EU citizens in our community, and celebrate the values of the EU this Saturday:
- Hang a flag or bunting in your window or garden or on your balcony (or perhaps a poster or placard if you don’t have a flag)
- Proudly wear your EU or Cambridge Stays T-Shirt, hat or scarf when you go outside for your daily exercise
- Share your favourite photos from the past four years’ rallies, marches and campaigning
- Have a Europe Day meal at home or picnic in your garden
- Bake an EU themed cake
- Make a short video thanking all the EU citizens who contribute to the richness of our society in so many ways
- Play Ode to Joy on an instrument of your choice and video it.
- Challenge your friends/family in other lockdown households to a Europe-themed face-painting or fancy dress competition
Whatever you do, please share photos, videos and messages on your social media platforms. If you’re on Twitter please use the hashtags #EuropeDayCambs, and either #EuropeDay or #TogetherForEurope, and tag us @cambsforeurope in your tweet. You can also email your photos to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d prefer us to share them on our social media accounts.
Together for Europe
The European Movement International, including the European Movement UK, are launching a pan-European online campaign “Together for Europe” for Europe Day, with videos on social media celebrating solidarity, care for our environment, equality and unity in diversity. The European Movement UK’s Facebook page is at www.facebook.com/europeanmovementUK, they tweet @euromove and their Instagram account is euromoveuk.
Cambridge for Europe will be supporting this campaign by sharing these videos through our social media channels, and we encourage you to do the same. Please also share your own photos, videos and messages using the hashtags #EuropeDay and #TogetherForEurope.
Stay safe, and have a happy Europe Day!