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It gives me great pleasure to address the readers of The Japan Times as the European Union (EU) marks Europe Day. On May 9, 1950, then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman put forth his vision for a more peaceful, stable and prosperous Europe after the death and destruction of decades, if not centuries, of war.

His groundbreaking proposal, to become known as the Schuman Declaration, laid the foundations for the EU we know today; a unique mechanism under which member states hand over part of their sovereignty and jointly decide on key policies that not only impact their citizens, but, with the Lisbon Treaty of 2009, now also allows the EU to speak and act as one on the global stage.

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