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09 Mai. 2023

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Ukraine celebrates Europe Day for the first time on 9 May: the history of the holiday and its importance

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Ukraine celebrates Europe Day for the first time on 9 May: the history of the holiday and its importance

Ukraine has become the center of Europe not only geographically, but also united the EU member states around common values: freedom, democracy and dignity. Learn more about the history of Europe Day and why it is important for Ukraine

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Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signed Decree No. 266/2023, which repeals the previous document of 19 April 2003 No. 339/2003 "On Europe Day". 


"Aware of the European identity of the Ukrainian people, in order to strengthen the unity of the peoples of Europe, ensure peace, security and stability on the European continent, demonstrate commitment to the ideals and values of democracy, support the initiatives of youth and other public associations, I hereby decide to establish Europe Day in Ukraine, which shall be celebrated annually on 9 May together with the states of the European Union," the document says.


Europe Day: the history of the holiday


In 1985, at the European Council summit in Milan, the date of the Europe Day celebration was approved as a symbol of unity and peace on the continent. This decision was preceded by a proposal by French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman to create a new form of organization of states in Europe in the form of a "national community" on 9 May 1950. 


The French official aimed to create a new form of community to prevent wars in Europe. In addition, the declaration stressed that economic cooperation was important to raise living standards and unite European states.


That is why the date of the Europe Day celebration was moved from 5 May (the date of the Council of Europe's establishment) to 9 May.


How Europe Day is celebrated in the European Union


In Luxembourg (where the founder of the date, Robert Schumann, was born in 1886) and Kosovo, Europe Day is an official holiday. In other countries, special celebrations are organized on this day, flags are hung and streets are decorated in all cities. 

In addition, it is customary to hold lectures and seminars on the history of the European Union and the values that united the countries.


It is worth noting that Europe Day is celebrated not only in EU member states, but also in countries that are still on the path to European integration.


How Europe Day will be celebrated in Ukraine


Until 2023, Europe Day was celebrated in Ukraine on the third Saturday of May. This decree was signed by Leonid Kuchma 20 years ago. Traditionally, this day was marked by festive events and flash mobs, but the invasion of Russia has made its own adjustments.


Today, Kyiv residents can visit two street exhibitions to celebrate:

  • learn about how the EU supports peace, security and democracy in the face of the Russian invasion at 22 Khreshchatyk Street, where the exhibition "Together we are Europe" will open;
  • to learn more about the EU's efforts to support Ukraine's culture during the war, visit St Sophia's Square, where the Cultural Mosaic exhibition will be presented.


Another significant and symbolic event this year is that today, 9 May, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will arrive in Ukraine to reaffirm the EU member states' unwavering support for Ukraine and meet with Volodymyr Zelenskyy. This visit may become a decisive step for Ukraine on its way to European integration, as we are consistently implementing all the recommendations and are on the final path to start negotiations on EU membership.


Happy Europe Day, Ukraine! We wish you victories and a happy future💙💛


We remind you! Ukraine became the first non-EU country to be included in the European Union's trusted list. Thanks to this, Ukrainian electronic signatures and seals on digital documents can be verified and confirmed in EU countries. Here's how it works.




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