CMV: The European Union should institute a Europe-wide holiday to commemorate Europe’s past and celebrate the EU’s success

Sat May 26 2018 15:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)


Juri Viehoff

University of Zurich

Research Fellow

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May 9 is the official “Europe day”, but few people know this, and fewer celebrate it. The only country in which it is a public holiday is Europe’s newest state, Kosovo. This should change:

All EU member states should make May 9 an official holiday to commemorate and celebrate European peace and European integration
This would create more of a common political identity amongst citizens of all European states and symbolize their unity
Perhaps some would resent ‘top-down celebration’, but engaging with those opposing it could itself enhance pan-European citizen involvement
Cost of one additional holiday would be marginal

Background Information

  • In order to forge a Pan-European identity, the EU is relying on a number of symbols, including the European flag and the European anthem

  • There are currently, however, no EU-wide holidays, which could play a similar role in fostering a sense of European belonging and cohesion

    • So far, the only officially recognized day to celebrate “peace and unity in Europe” is Europe Day, held on the 9th of May, in order to commemorate the anniversary of the Schuman declaration

    • Europe day was officially recognized by the European Parliament in 2008 along with other symbols of the European Union, see "EP Rules of Procedure, Rule 202a: use by Parliament of the symbols of the Union (2007/2240)​​

  • On a critical note, it has been argued that a holiday like Europe Day or any other celebratory event is unable to foster any sense of European belonging, because “… the EU cannot refer to a popular, historic founding myth akin to the US Declaration of Independence […] or Bastille Day. There was no founding moment to define a common, positive and transcendent ideal of what the EEC was about, and what it differentiated itself from.”​​

Read more

What is Europe Day and is anyone celbrating

Detailed information on Europe Day

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