On May 9, 1950, French Foreign Minister Robert Schumann delivered his historic declaration laying the foundations for today's European Union. This Europe Day saw the closing ceremony of the Conference on the Future of Europe, a yearlong process that brought together citizens and policymakers to discuss how they see the bloc's future.
The result is more than 300 proposals on how to make the EU work better in areas ranging from climate change to migration. These proposals were presented on Monday in Strasbourg to French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating Presidency, and European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen. Both leaders spoke about the need for change to make Europe even stronger and more united in the context of the war in Ukraine.
"We must to everything we can to end this war as soon as possible and we must not allow Russia to win. We must preserve peace on the rest of the European continent and prevent any kind of escalation," said Macron.
“There is a future that we have been writing together ever since, as architects and builders of Europe and the next stage, dear Ukrainian friends, is now being written by you, by us, and all of us together. Slava Ukraini, long live Europe,” said von der Leyen.
European Commission Vice President Dubravka Šuica, a co-chair of the Conference on the Future of Europe, said it was time for Europe to play a stronger role in world affairs.
''I think we are going to have to seriously embark upon making some changes. I cannot speak to that now but they will be announced by the leaders of the three institutions,” said Šuica.
Europe Day was also celebrated in Zagreb. 2022 has been declared the European Year of Youth, shining a light on the importance of European youth to build a better future. The Office of the European Parliament in Croatia organized a host of activities and workshops on climate change, mental health, disinformation, and solidarity with Ukraine.
"I think that all of us in the EU, are stronger than ever, fortified by the power of unity and a vision of a strong, secure, and safe European Union of shared values: human rights, the rule of law, and democracy," said Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Croatia Vasyl Kyrylych said evil had been reawakened in Europe, “but Europe is a strong international community with a powerful response to the Russian aggressors."
The head of the European Commission Office in Croatia Ognian Zlatev said it was clear that the EU must address some issues that it may have neglected like joint security and energy independence.
Violeta Simeoneva Staničić, the head of the Office of the European Parliament in Croatia said the war in Ukraine had united Europeans.
"I think what has happened has been the best propaganda, the best messaging for the European Union. This is clear from the fact that not only did all the member states open their borders but their homes to everyone seeking safety and survival," she said.
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