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Europe Day – Celebrations And Sorrows

  • May 17th, 2011
  • Posted by 7thmin

eu-flag-flies.jpgEvents for Europe Day 2011 were played out against a backdrop of new crises, challenges and opportunities for the European Union.

The commemorations mark the anniversary of 9 May 1950 when, in the official language of the European Union, the founding father, Robert Schuman, “presented his proposal on the creation of an organised Europe, indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations.”

Progressing from the original treaty governing coal and steel, materials of war, the idea propounded by the former French Prime Minister has this year progressed to a new diplomatic entity capable of representing all of the current 27 member countries together.

In time for Europe Day the United Nations General Assembly recognised the EU would be taking a common stance on nominated issues, by accrediting its High Representative, Catherine Ashton, to speak there on its behalf.

Baroness Ashton is expected to visit Australia later this year.

Not a “nation” within the UN, not just a diplomatic club, customs union or military alliance, the EU as in fact a level of government, is carrying on pressing business this week on several fronts.

•    Tackling climate change, by getting right the uneven functioning of its emissions trading scheme, follows the declaration at the EU 50th anniversary in Berlin, in March 2007 – that climate change would be its first immediate priority.
•    Managing the climb-back out of recession, especially marshalling funds to off-set financial slides of weaker partners, so far in this crisis, Greece, Ireland and Portugal – all in the name of solidarity.
•    Facing up to this year’s problems to the South: political revolts in North Africa, and a new movement of “boat people” across the Mediterranean to Europe’s shores.
•    Maintaining enormous trading and investment activity, meaning for partners like Australia, a direct involvement in  the European future – with for example some 1.4-million  Australian jobs estimated to be derived from EU trade or business activity.

Promoter of a “Europe of values” the EU itself still cannot lay claim to that cultural signature event, the Eurovision Song Contest.

eurovision-winners-2011.jpgThis time out of 43 national competitors on Saturday night (14.5.11), it was the turn of Azerbijan, the duo  Ell & Nikki clear winners (picture).

They received a tumultuous welcome home, car radios everywhere blaring out their song, “Running Scared”.
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See EUAustralia Online: “Calling to account on climate change”, 31.3.07; “European Union at 50”, 27.3.07.

Reference

News.Az, Baku, “Tumultuous reception for Eurovision winners”, 16.5.11. http://news.az/articles/culture/36383, (16.5.11).

European Union, Brussels, “Europe Day 9 May”. http://europa.eu/abc/symbols/9-may/index_en.htm, (16.5.11).

EU, Brussels, “Statement by the High Commissioner on the adoption of the UN General Assembly resolution on the EU’s participation …”, 3.5.11.

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