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Happy Europe Day 2011!

Brussels -
Sunday, May 8, 2011

The President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, made the following statement on the occasion of this year's Europe Day on 9 May 2011:

"This year it is 61 years since Robert Schuman's declaration. 61 years since the beginning of probably the most ambitious political project in European history.

On 9 May 1950, something new happened in Europe: one of the winners of war reached the hand to the defeated, going so far as to share sovereignty with the former enemy. The Community of Coal and Steel was the beginning of cooperation, which only a few years before could not have been imagined.

We have come a long way from the divided, destroyed and deprived Europe after World War II to what is now an area of freedom, security, justice and prosperity, where citizens travel, live and work freely. We have every reason to be proud of what Europe has achieved.

We must not think that these achievements are here to stay forever, that our life-style can be maintained without further effort and commitment. We must not take the achievements of the EU for granted. Uniting Europe is a referendum of every day.

The EU needs to be an active, ambitious and cohesive force, which upholds the values on which it was built. We need to help our Eastern and Southern neighbours in their fight for human dignity, freedom and democracy.

Today, we can do what Robert Schuman did in 1950: reach our hand to those who share our dreams, but who have not been on the winning side of history. The people of Belarus, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and so many other countries ask for our solidarity.

We also need to show solidarity with the Member States within our Union that are facing high debt burdens and that are adopting courageous and responsible reforms. Unity and solidarity are the very cornerstones of the prosperity we all enjoy.

The best way to celebrate the Schuman declaration today is not to retrench into our inner circles or to defend our past gains, but rather to fight the many challenges which lie ahead with vigour, ambition and unity.

I wish everybody in the world a happy Europe Day!"

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