Review: Europe Day

by Aris Heru Utomo

The 9 May is Europe Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome in 1957, when the original European Community was launched by its six founding countries namely Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Today, the 9th of May has become an European symbol (Europe Day) which, along with the flag, the anthem, the motto and the single currency (the euro), identifies the political entity of the EU.

Fifty years since the Treaties of Rome were signed on 27 March 1957, the EU has grown from six original member countries in 1957 to 27 today, expending its original role promoting economic cooperation into an integrated bloc which share currency, common borders and cooperation on areas ranging from the environment and immigration to defence and foreign policy. It shows the achievement of the evolution process of the European integration from the start to the various stages of the integration project: Coal and Steel Community, Economic Community, European Community, European Union.

Then why the EU adopted 9 March as Europe Day instead of the signatory date of the Treaty of Rome on 27 March? Historically, the adoption of 9 May as “Europe Day” was decided at the EU Summit in Milan in 1985. The day is celebrated in commemoration of the proposal by Robert Schuman on the creation of an organised Europe, indispensable to maintenance of peaceful relations on 9 May 1950. The Schuman’s proposal or known as Schuman’s declaration is considered by many to be the beginning of the creation of what is now the EU.

Considering the achievement of the European Union integration, we should take notice that those process of integration obviously involved Eastern Europe countries and Balkan which were belong to Communist bloc during the cold war. At that moment, it was difficult to construct cooperation with those countries under the same common position.

With regard to the EU’s achievement on the process of integration, we are also seeing that at this time the EU are challenged by internal issues such as streamlining the economic differentiation in each member countries; particularly refer to the 12 new member countries which joined to the EU since 1 May 2004 and 1 January 2007.

In the political and security cooperation, it’s seem that the EU is trying to enhance its profile in international fora. In this context we can see the EU involvement into conflicts in Middle East, Iran, Darfur as well as monitoring the general election in Aceh. With its modalities, the EU could maintain its role in maintaining political and security issues.

In this regard we should consider the revival of the EU power to influence the development of other regions which will cover issues among other are economic and trade as well as political and economic issues, principally for the developing countries.



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