Dear European Citizens,

On the 9th of May, we celebrate Europe Day – we celebrate peace and unity in Europe. This date marks the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration in 1950, in which French foreign minister Robert Schuman laid out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe. The declaration is considered to be the foundation of the European Union.

This day is an ideal occasion to all EU citizens to revitalise the European dream and European integration. Let’s not forget, we are all citizens of Europe, regardless of our cultural backgrounds, or our convictions. Europe is where we all live our lives and imagine our futures.

On Europe Day, the EU institutions traditionally open their doors to the public, allowing citizens to visit these places. It is a great way on bringing the European Union closer to its citizens – but this goal should be pursued throughout the year.

Citizens and civil society organisations can contribute to reaching this goal on a macro-regional level as well. The EU’s macro-regional policy is destined to be a special bridge between the EU and European citizens.

We have even taken a step further by starting to develop a macro-regional civil strategy, promoting the European project on regional and local levels. Such a new arrangement brings about an institutionalised form of civil dialogue with place-based communities and regional level CSOs. Such a civil strategy, involving citizens from all macro-regions (Baltic Sea Region, Danube Region, Adriatic and Ionian Region, Alpine Region) will strengthen their ownership feeling and European identity.

If every year we can celebrate on Europe Day that the distance between EU institutions and people living hundreds of kilometres away from the “Brussels bubble” has been further reduced, we certainly make Robert Schuman’s dream come true.

This year, Europe Day receives special emphasis as the European Parliament elections are just one month away. The elections’ final outcome will shape the EU’s political direction over the next five years. Let us do all we can to mobilise citizens and raise awareness about the importance of EP elections, thus supporting the European idea.

Happy Europe Day to all of you!

Budapest, 9 May 2024

Miklos Barabas
European House Budapest

Europe Day 2024 Open Letter