On 9 May 1950, Robert Schuman brought Europe together in pursuit of a common goal—a bold idea that 65 years later has turned the European Union into a place of peace and prosperity.

Today, more than ever, we must continue working together in unity to defend our shared values and democratic rights against populist and Eurosceptic forces,” said Joseph Daul, the President of the European People’s Party.

As the consequences of the financial and economic crisis are still looming over Europe’s people, a strong sense of solidarity among Member States is enabling the European Union to overcome the crisis and put our economies back on track. But solidarity has to be matched by responsibility.

Unity has kept us strong in difficult times. But only responsibility and joint action will ensure that we continue to preserve what we have achieved so far. Member States have to address current structural weaknesses in order to offer European citizens a stronger and sustainable economy, more jobs, and new sources of growth,” continued President Daul.

The ongoing conflicts in Europe’s immediate neighbourhood are a test for the Union as a whole. In such a globalised world, daily challenges cross boundaries and are taking another dimension. The line between external and internal threats no longer holds true. Immigration, trafficking, terrorism, and organised crime are just a few of the concerns that no Member State can tackle alone.

The Mediterranean tragedy reminds us of the necessity of shared efforts. An ever closer cooperation and coordination of a common response to societies in danger and the most-affected Member States will not only save lives but will also reassert Europe’s leadership in the world. The world needs a strong European Union,” said President Daul.

As a true Christian Democrat, Robert Schuman said on 9 May 1950: “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.”

Today, let us reflect on the progress we have made, while also looking at solutions to the challenges we face. A common effort has carried us through past and present hardships, and it is what will ensure a better future for the peoples of Europe,” concluded President Daul.