Flag of Europe; Credit: Jazmin Campbell

Celebrated by the European Union (EU) every year on 9 May, Europe Day marks the anniversary of the historic Schuman Declaration, made by Luxembourg-born French politician Robert Schuman on this date in 1950, and celebrates peace and unity on the European continent – a situation which has been threatened recently by the Russia-Ukraine war.

In 2019, Luxembourg, one of the three official EU capitals (along with Brussels and Strasbourg), became the first (and so far only) country to declare Europe Day a public holiday.


On 9 May 1950, then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman, who was born in Luxembourg-Clausen in 1886, presented what would later become known as the Schuman Declaration. In this speech, Mr Schuman proposed the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) – a predecessor of today’s European Union – with the goal of preventing further conflict in Europe (notably between France and Germany) following the Second World War. The idea was to pool coal and steel production and thus merge economic interests.

On 18 April 1951, six European counties signed the Treaty of Paris establishing the ECSC: France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Italy. The headquarters of the executive branch of the ECSC, the "High Authority", were located on Place de Metz in Luxembourg City until its disbandment and merge with the European Commission in 1967.

Robert Schuman, later considered one of the so-called "founding fathers" of the EU, was among several politicians at the time to advocate further European integration. Additional treaties followed in the years after the Schuman Declaration and the creation of the ECSC, with new members joining the European project, which would eventually become known as the European Union.

In January 1973, membership of what was then called the European Economic Community (EEC) grew from six to nine countries, with the accession of Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom (UK). In 1982, Greece became the tenth member state, followed in 1986 by newcomers Spain and Portugal. 1993 saw the launch of the single market, as well as the signing of the Maastricht Treaty (officially the Treaty on European Union) – the foundation treaty of the EU. Austria, Finland and Sweden joined the EU in 1995, bringing the number of member states to fifteen. The euro currency was born in 1999. Ten new countries (Cyprus, Malta and eight Central and Eastern European countries) joined the EU in May 2004, followed by Bulgaria and Romania in 2007.

By July 2013, with the accession of Croatia, the EU's membership had grown to 28 member states; following the withdrawal of the UK from the EU (Brexit) on 31 January 2020, there are currently 27 EU member states.

Europe Day 2022 celebrations

Several activities are planned in Luxembourg this year to mark this day of celebration of peace and unity in Europe. 

Guided tours

The Luxembourg City Tourist Office (LCTO) is organising two Europe Day themed guided tours of Luxembourg City: the three-hour “Circuit Luxembourg, European Capital: an ongoing commitment”, which will take place in English on Saturday 7 May at 14:00 and on Monday 9 May at 14:30, and the two-hour “Circuit Schuman”, taking place in English on Sunday 8 May at 14:00. During the former, participants will discover Luxembourg-based European institutions such as the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the European Parliament and the European Investment Bank (EIB). The latter will allow visitors to explore the life and birthplace of Robert Schuman, as well as the history of the ECSC. Further information: https://www.luxembourg-city.com/en

Official ceremony

Official Europe Day celebrations will be held this year in Esch-sur-Alzette on Europe Day itself (Monday 9 May). 60 information stands will be present on Place de la Résistance in Luxembourg’s second largest city. As part of the European Year of Youth, there will be an additional 30 discovery stands set up in the “youth zone” in the courtyard of École du Brill. A varied cultural programme is planned, including performances and demonstrations by Ukrainian musicians and artists. The official ceremony will take place on Monday afternoon in the presence of His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Chamber of Deputies President Fernand Etgen, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, MEP Christophe Hansen and Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights.

Open days

From 7 to 15 May 2022, various EU institutions will open their doors to the public in Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg.

In the Grand Duchy, the European Parliament is hosting an open day at Bâtiment Konrad Adenauer in Luxembourg-Kirchberg on Tuesday 10 May from 15:00 to 19:00. Visitors will have access to the gallery connecting the different parts of the building and the coffee lounge (where refreshments can be purchased) and will be able to discover an exhibition (“European Parliament and Luxembourg”) as well as an interactive quiz. An identity card or passport is required to access the building, which will soon house all the staff of the European Parliament in Luxembourg as well as the Liaison Office of the European Parliament in Luxembourg and the Representation of the European Commission in Luxembourg.

European Citizen’s Initiative

9 May 2022 also marks the tenth anniversary of the European Citizen's Initiative (ECI). Introduced by the 2009 Lisbon Treaty and operation as of 1 April 2021, the ECI has spent the past ten years working to promote democratic participation in the EU. Its very first initiative was registered on Europe Day 2012. The ECI enables EU citizens to jointly call for legislative change at the European level on important issues. During its ten years of existence, more than 800 people have started close to 90 European citizens' initiatives, collecting more than sixteen million signatures in 27 member states. The most recent initiative (registered on 27 April 2022), “End the Slaughter Age”, calls on the European Commission to exclude livestock farming from activities eligible for agricultural subsidies and to include ethical and ecological alternatives, as well as to introduce incentives for the production and sale of plant-based and cellular agricultural products.

On Saturday 7 May, at the EU Open Day in Brussels, people can visit the ECI stand at the European Commission headquarters to learn more about this initiative.