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Get closer to Europe – on Europe Day - 04/05/2012

Europe Day celebrates the EU’s achievements – not least, lasting peace, economic cooperation and border-free travel. It is also a chance to find out more about the EU, with events and activities for all ages.

On 9 May 1950, Robert Schuman, France’s foreign minister, called on France, Germany and other European countries to pool their production of coal and steel.

This was the first move towards the creation of what is now known as the European Union – 27 countries united in their respect for freedom and the rule of law while recognising and valuing the diversity of EU citizens. The anniversary of Schuman’s declaration is celebrated as Europe Day.

Open day at EU HQ

On Saturday 12 May, the EU’s various institutions will mark the anniversary by opening their doors to the public.

Events are being held around Europe. Find out more from the Commission offices in each country.

In Brussels, you can see for yourself the inside of the EU's signature building, the Berlaymont (home to the European Commissioners) or visit the room in the EU Council building where EU leaders and ministers gather for their top-level summits.

Take a seat in the debating chamber of the European Parliament, where MEPs debate the issues of the day. Or take a peek at some of the other major European forums, the meeting places of representatives from Europe's regions (Committee of the Regions) and its various interest groups (Economic and Social Committee).

Each is holding a variety of fun educational activities for adults and children. Listen to live music, see cultural shows, find out how the EU fights cybercrime, take part in a quiz, or test your agility by walking a rope bridge. You can join exercise classes or learn how to make paper flowers.

A “state of the union“ conference about Europe’s current economic challenges and further integration is being held on 9-10 May in Florence, Italy. The conference will be broadcast live online.

Festival of Europe – open day events, 12 May

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