On May 9, 1950, the French foreign minister, Robert Schuman, in a famous speech, set out his idea of a new form of cooperation between European nations, especially with the aim of avoiding further wars. A first step towards this union took place with the Treaty of Paris of April 18, 1951, which founded the European Coal and Steel Community (CECA). The treaty laid the foundations for peaceful cooperation between the six founding countries, Belgium, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, thus uniting the winners and losers of World War II. In 1957, the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the European Economic Community (CEE) were founded in Rome.
Gradually, step by step, Political Europe grew: in 1979 there were the first European elections; in 1989 the Berlin wall falls, and the changes in Europe lead to the creation of a new treaty which enters into force in 1993, and which leads to greater cooperation; in 2002 the Euro arrives, and so on, up to the current European Union of 27 countries (given the current exit of Great Britain).
A further key moment occurs in 2007, with the definition of the objectives and values of the EU, established by the Lisbon Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Values such as human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, human rights, become the clear reference of the Union. In 2012 the EU wins the Nobel Peace Prize for contributing to peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.
The EU has continued to develop over the years, not only as an institution but also in its identity; the inhabitants of Europe, thanks also to the multiplied possibilities of traveling and studying in another country, have begun to feel more and more “European”. A process that is not without difficulties and contradictions, also due to the various crises that the EU has had to face in recent years: the economic crisis, the migration crisis; the emergence of populist governments that have undermined democracy; the current pandemic.
At the same time, not a few things are happening in our United Europe. The Next generation EU represents the largest postwar recovery program, with a huge focus on ecology; never had so many investments been made in this area. Other good news concerns the fact that the new Erasmus Plus 2021-28 Program was recently inaugurated, with an almost doubled financial endowment, and new actions, following the principle that education is the basis of change. Today is also the date on which the “Conference for the future of Europe” starts; on this occasion, the EU is preparing to launch a large popular consultation, also in view of a revision of the treaties, in order to make the European institutions more agile and faster, modifying some factors, such as the “right of veto”, which often block decision-making capacity of the EU.
The story you find here concerns one of the key moments in the recent history of Europe: the fall of the Berlin Wall. An episode whose images we all have in our eyes, but which is now represented “from the inside”, by the eyes of a person who was there, and which offers us a unique portrait of that moment, allowing us to immerse ourselves, in first person, inside those unforgettable images.
Europe represents a unique reality in the world. We have the opportunity to contribute to its future by creating a Europe that is more consistent with its own values.
Happy birthday Europe !!!