The event marks the anniversary of the day in 1950 when Robert Schuman, one of the founders of the EU, made his 'Schuman Declaration', outlining a vision to unite separate European states into a single community. He understood the process would be gradual:
Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity.
Still fresh from the trauma of World War II, Schuman hoped his plan would ensure peace – and particularly peace between France and Germany – in the future. He proposed pooling the coal and steel production of different European countries and argued that this common venture would 'make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible.'
The European Steel and Coal Community created after Schuman's speech eventually grew into today's European Union. The original six members (France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) now number 28.
Throughout the month of May 2014, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and other EU institutions celebrated Europe Day worldwide. EU Delegations led a range of different events in their host countries on the theme of 'Europe in the World'. Lectures, competitions, film festivals and other events organised by the Delegations in cooperation with Member States' embassies highlighted the best the EU has to offer.
At its headquarters in Brussels, the EEAS participated in the 'Open Doors Day' along with a number of other EU institutions. EEAS staff from the EU's military and civilian missions joined colleagues from the thematic and geographic divisions to show to the public the work the Service does throughout the world.