Europe Day celebrates peace and unity that was the idea of the Schuman Declaration. This year the celebrations are even more important, because the European Union is facing so many challenges. It is necessary to think what brought us together since the French Foreign Affairs Minister speech in 1950. With the election of Macron, as the next French President, Europe has to be happy. As a pro-European, is expected that the youngest French President ever will bring new ideas to the old continent, and that is what we, Europeans, need. The EU needs fresh ideas!
The United Kingdom is about to leave our bloc but they are still our European brothers, we should not see Brexit as a nightmare, we will have to keep a strong relation with the UK if we want a strong and peaceful Europe. We, Europeans, should do more to protect the persons who arrive at our coast with the same hopes for a better life, as the Europeans that 60 years ago were looking for the same when they signed the Treaty of Rome, which has been replaced by many other treaties since then, with the most recent being signed 10 years ago - Treaty of Lisbon. Each treaty had a goal of turning EU even more strong, equal and secure for all its citizens.
The EU has grown from just 6 members to the current 28 members. States are looking at the EU as a union which promotes peaceful cooperation, respect of human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality and solidarity among European nations and peoples. Only together we can deal with the challenges of our world, a divided Europe would mean a fragile region. Despite our differences - yes we have a lot of differences - we can work together, we have been working together for a better Europe since the World War II, and we can keep doing that for long.
The EU is also celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus program, a program meant to be a bridge between our differences. Many young people have participated in this program, which has now been extended to other fields such as internships and volunteering. These programs have changed their lives into a more multicultural vision of what Europe is truly made of but they were also able to experience the similarities between different cultures and nations. They do not feel Portuguese or Swedish anymore, they feel Europeans.
This year was the first time that I was present at official celebrations of the 9 May. The EU Delegation to Namibia presented a simple but cheerful event in Windhoek. I truly felt as a European citizen in that moment, and I understood what make us being under the same organisation. Namibia have only official representations from 6 members States, I was not expecting a big event, but this day brought all Europeans in Namibia together around what really unity us: the same home.
The same home that we should respect and protect, the home where we have been growing and learning how to face the many challenges, the same home that is looked by the outside as a home of good values. We have to keep our home safe, secure and strong, we only keep this if we remain united in our values. We should respect our differences that is also what make us unique but keeping the idea that we share a big home with people from all around the world looking for the same goals searched by each of us.
Keeping the EU strong is keeping our future peaceful and prosperous, we should fight for that, especially we the young people. The future of Europe is the youth, the EU should actively face and deal with the challenges of the new generations in order for them to not lose the European brightness left by their parents and grandparents. Young people are the next leaders of an EU that will face more and more challenges but if we remain united, we will stand stronger to face the upcoming challenges.
Europe is me!
Europe is you!
Europe is us!
Happy Europe Day!