Leeds for Europe – a pro-EU campaign body in West Yorkshire – is planning a virtual ‘Euro Café’ on Saturday to celebrate Europe Day.
This May 9 marks a milestone for Europe.
Over three-quarters of century ago France’s foreign minister Robert Schuman told a rally in Paris his ideas of a bold new Europe in which political cooperation trumped protectionist, nationalistic policies.
His ambition was to create a strong, united Europe – one where the internecine warfare was a thing of the past.
He called for a pooling of coal and steel production with his ideas – encapsulated in what is now decreed as ‘The Schuman Declaration’ – forming the pillars of what we now call the European Union.
In honour of the declaration, and the following period of prosperity and growth that improved living standards across the continent, Leeds for Europe is calling for virtual drinks.
This Saturday, the group’s supporters will ‘meet’ online to chat, eat and drink as a fun way of marking this annual occasion.
The group urges anyone wishing to join to don EU-branded clothing and fly European flags from their homes.
Group chair Richard Wilson said: ‘In different circumstances, you could imagine thousands of people on the streets of Leeds or hundreds of thousands marching in London to express our ongoing support for Britain’s place in Europe.
‘Although big public demonstrations are not possible at the moment, there remains strong opposition to Brexit and great concern that we can ill-afford the upheaval of exiting the Brexit transition period at the end of this year, on top of the turmoil that we are going through due to the coronavirus.’
The group says a constant number of Britons want to remain in the EU than exit it, pointing to polling carried out by EURef2 before and after December’s General Election which showed that a consistent majority of around 53% of the British public want to stay in.
Wilson, who is also a Vice Chair of the national campaign organisation, European Movement UK, which was founded by Winston Churchill, and of which Leeds for Europe is a branch, added: ‘We have already seen how important international cooperation is when dealing with a crisis such as Covid-19.
‘Positive and proactive engagement with our European neighbours is essential if we are to have access to the medicines and medical equipment we need to tackle the virus and to develop joint strategies to defeat this lethal threat.’
Leeds for Europe suspended face-to-face meetings and other campaign events before the official lockdown began but has continued to hold regular virtual get-togethers and is still campaigning to extend the Brexit transition period.
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