09 May 2011
"Leading EU politicians and officials have been celebrating Europe Day today – and reflecting on the current challenges faced by the bloc.
Europe Day marks the anniversary of French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman's call in 1950 for the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community, which laid the foundations of the modern European Union. The day has been officially celebrated since 1985.
Marking the occasion, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy said that in the last 61 years Europe had become "a byword for peace and prosperity".
Addressing the current financial crisis in the eurozone he said: "We are going through a difficult period. But even if some of our economies are struggling, in most European countries growth and employment are clearly picking up. The recovery is even stronger than we hoped."
He added that events in the Arab world had "taken us by surprise" but that "Europe has the means to fulfil the hopes of our southern neighbours".
To celebrate Europe Day, Van Rompuy wrote one of his trademark haikus: "A corona of stars. Rolling over the deep blue sea. Together forever."