The 60th anniversary of a landmark day in European history will be celebrated on Sunday – and UEFA will play a full part in the festivities through its opening contribution to Expo 2010 Shanghai China.
The world Expo in Shanghai will be marking Europe Day, because on 9 May 1950 the initial steps were taken on the road to creating the modern-day European Union. France's then foreign minister, Robert Schuman, proposed the creation of a supranational European institution which would manage the coal and steel industries. This was the beginning of a new, united Europe in the wake of the Second World War.
The European Commission vice-president and justice commissioner Viviane Reding will be in Shanghai for Sunday's events. The European Commission has asked UEFA to be part of the European pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, with UEFA president Michel Platini acting as patron of the pavilion. A welcome message from Mr Platini will be shown permanently at the Expo on two giant screens, and the adviser to the UEFA president, William Gaillard, will represent the European body at the celebrations this weekend.
Alongside the moves towards European political and economic unity six decades ago, European football unity was expressed through UEFA's birth in June 1954. UEFA's involvement in the European pavilion in Shanghai reflects the popularity of football which UEFA has helped nurture over the years, and comes about following a proposal by the European Commission. In a recent speech to the Committee of the Regions in Brussels, Michel Platini said that the commission had made a highly symbolic choice, as there is perhaps no stronger European common denominator than football.
The contribution of the European game's governing body to the Shanghai Expo will have an impressive platform, particularly from 18 September to the end of October, when a football exhibition will be staged in the European pavilion under UEFA's auspices. Memorabilia and prized items, such as trophies and former players' boots and jerseys, will be displayed and film clips of memorable matches and goals will be shown.
Also on 18 September, an event to delight football enthusiasts visiting the Expo: former football greats from this continent will feature in an all-star match against a Chinese team on an Expo mini-pitch.
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