EU marks 70 years since its foundation on Europe day

It has now grown into a 27 member state trading bloc, with applications pending in three countries.
EU marks 70 years since its foundation on Europe day

70 years ago today, the European Union (EU) was founded as a coal and steel agreement between Germany and France.

The creation of the German-French Coal and Steel arrangement by Robert Schuman led to the modern-day EU.

Europe Day marks the official origins of the EU on May 9 1950.

It has now grown into a 27 member state trading bloc, with applications pending from Macedonia, Serbia and Albania.

Ireland has been a member of the EU for the past 47 years

Gerry Kiely, who heads up EU representation in Ireland, says the objectives of May 9, 1950, are more significant today than ever before.

She says: "Bringing on weaker members to ensure they get to a point where they can play a role as well in supporting new members that may not be as strong.

"Ireland benefited from funding when we joined originally and now we are in a much stronger position where we are actually contributing to the European Union financially.

"That just shows you how far we have come."

Deirdre Clune, an MEP in Ireland South, outlines the future challenges facing the union.

She says: "There are always challenges, it's never plain sailing. The crises that it has faced, the difficult situations has formed it as well, it's history has made it what it is today.

"The next 70 years, who knows, it's 2020 now, obviously climate change is going to be a big challenge and we can do that together."

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