The flags of Greece and the European Union were raised at the Acropolis early on Sunday in celebration of “Europe Day 2021”.
The ceremony was attended by the Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and European Commission Vice-President and Commissioner Promoting our European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas.
Europe Day held on 9 May every year celebrates peace and unity in Europe. The date marks the anniversary of the historic ‘Schuman declaration’.
At a speech in Paris in 1950, Robert Schuman, the then French foreign minister, set out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, which would make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable.
His vision was to create a European institution that would pool and manage coal and steel production. A treaty creating such a body was signed just under a year later. Schuman’s proposal is considered to be the beginning of what is now the European Union.
The day also coincides with the anniversary of the Nazi Germany surrender to the Allied Forces putting an end to the nightmare of the Second World War.
“Today we celebrate the victory of the Allies and the end of World War II, on May 8, 1945. We reverently honor those who sacrificed their lives so that we can be free,” Sakellaropoulou said in a statement.
Europe must respond to new challenges
“Just five years later, on May 9, 1950, enlightened Europeans laid the foundations for peace and progress for the peoples of Europe. This year marks 71 years since the Declaration of Robert Schuman and 40 years since the accession of our country to the then European Community,” she added.
“For our country, the European Union is a place of prosperity and security. We participate in its values, in our common European life and culture. We are proud of what we have achieved with our European fellow citizens and we have high expectations for the future.
“Europe must respond to the challenges of our time, the pandemic, the economy and climate change, with unity and solidarity,” the Greek President noted.
In a tweet in Greek, Schinas said, “Europe Day today at the sacred rock of the Acropolis. Greek and European flags together for the first time at the monument of global culture. A unique, unprecedented moment. Greece and Europe together, always consistent before history’s commanding calls.”
Greece’ s FM Dendias’ hails European project
The European Union is a “singular example in world history of a voluntary union of states,” Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias tweeted on Sunday, on the occasion of Europe Day 2021.
In honor of the proposal for a European bloc of states promoted by Robert Schuman in 1950, Dendias also underlined that “as not even a century has gone by since we began this long journey, the path to a truly United Europe will take time.”
He said that there must be no lack of political will. “Large historic projects are built over a long time horizon,” he said.
In an earlier tweet, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said, “We defend European values and promote stability, international law and human rights globally – together, we are stronger.”