THE Balearic government began its build up to Friday evening's official Europe Day celebrations yesterday by opening the three-day Inter cultural fair on the Borne in Palma.

This year's Europe Day, or Week as the government claims because Ibiza and Minorca started their celebrations on Monday, has been particularly orientated towards local schools and the authorities hope that the fair will serve to teach young pupils more about Europe and its various members, cultures, customs and languages. Interestingly, in Palma, the goal posts of Europe appear to have been moved slightly to include Senegal and Colombia as two of the spotlight countries along with Romania and Germany. On Sunday, Calvia will be hosting its annual Europe Day party on the sea front in Palmanova.

The Council of Europe has celebrated its founding on 5 May 1949 as “Europe Day” since 1964. What is now the European Union adopted 9 May as “Europe Day” at the Milan summit in 1985, to celebrate that Robert Schuman presented his proposal on the creation of an organised Europe, indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations, on 9 May 1950. This proposal, known as the Schuman declaration, is considered by many to be the beginning of the creation of what is now the European Union. 9 May is now the more commonly observed date, though some Europeans still prefer 5 May, since the Council of Europe was designed to defend human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, while the Schuman speech was simply proposing a sharing of French and German coal and steel.