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On 9 May 1950 the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman put forward the plan that lead to the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). In the ECSC France, Germany, Italy and Benelux cooperated in producing war fare materials aiming for peace and reconciliation. Seven years later the Rome Treaty was signed and today we have an EU with 27 member states.
In 1985 the European countries decided to have an anual celebration of Europe Day on 9 May and to use the European flag as an official logo for the EU. The circle of golden starts symbolises holism, solidarity and harmony among the people of Europe.
For the fifth year in a row Europe Day was celebrated with birthday cake and cross party Europe talks throughout Denmark. In the town squares of seven larger cities (Copenhagen, Roskilde, Odense, Aalborg, Aarhus, Ronne and Sonderborg) the local members of the Danish European Movement and the Young European Federalists together with local politicians handed out information on the European cooperation and cake decorated with EU flags and flags of the 27 member states.
President of the Danish European Movement Erik Boel and newly elected Vice-President Ellen Trane Nørby, several Danish MP’s and Mayors as well as the Bulgarian and Romanian Ambassadors were in the streets to speak in favour of the European cause. During the day by-passers could try out their knowledge on EU in a quiz and the lucky winner received two flight tickets to Brussels - the capital of Europe - sponsored by Brussels Air. Despite the windy weather many people took the time to stop and have a bite and a chat and in only a few hours 1750 pieces of Europe cake were gone.
The weeks before 9 May the Danish European Movement contacted and encouraged the local municipalities to hoist the EU-flag on the day. This year as many as 45 of 98 Danish municipalities chose to do so. 2007 also brought new initiatives. For the first time the buses on Zealand had a star spangled banner on the roof and the city of Copenhagen invited the administrations as well as organisations pro- and against the EU to participate in an exhibition at the main library.
Every year the Danish European Movement announces the “European of the Year” - a person who has made a particular effort for Europe - and on Europe Day it was announced that former German Foreign Minster Joschka Fischer was to be honoured. His well-known Humbold speech was of decisive importance for this decision. Mr. Fischer will come to Denmark at the end of September to receive the prize.
All together Europe Day celebrations in Denmark where festive and the media attention helped to ensure that a large public audience was reached. The European Union influences the daily day life of the citizens of Europe and Europe Day should consequently be celebrated as national holidays.
Rina Valeur Rasmussen, Secretary General of the Danish European Movement
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