Minister to encourage ‘Handshakes for Europe’ on Europe Day

8th May, 2014

Visits to Blue Star schools and the Mansion House will demonstrate to children the solidarity and diversity that exists as members of the EU


Minister for European Affairs, Paschal Donohoe TD, will tomorrow (Friday) visit a number of Blue Star schools to mark Europe Day before attending a ‘Handshake for Europe’ event at the Mansion House.


Run by European Movement Ireland on behalf of the Department of An Taoiseach, the European Commission Representation and the European Parliament, the Blue Star programme aims to foster a better understanding of the European Union amongst Irish primary school pupils. This is done by encouraging the pupils to carry out projects and undertake tasks that deepen their knowledge about what the EU does and the significance of being a part of it.


Introduced for the first time last year, the ‘Handshake for Europe’, which Blue Star schools across the country will be participating in tomorrow, seeks to recognise the solidarity that exists among European citizens and celebrates the diversity that comes with being part of a strong and inclusive Union.


The handshake symbolises the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration (May 9th 1950) which lead to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC); the forerunner of the European Union. Coming in the wake of two world wars, the idea behind the ECSC was to make war ‘not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible’. This remains a central tenet of the European Union today.