Since 1985, every year on the 9th of May, the Day of Europe, celebrations have been organized across the whole EU. In Brussels the European Institutions, as is their tradition, hosted an open day with infostands and tours. The central figure of that day was Swedish European Member of Parlement Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner of Internal Affairs. The day of Europe, which is celebrated every year on the 9th of May, celebrates peace and unity within Europe. This date marks the birthday of the historic `Declaration of Schuman` who explained his ideas for a new form of political cooperation within Europe which would eliminate war between the European Nations. The declaration of Schuman is seen as the beginning of the current European Union.
This year, the remembrance ceremony was heavily marked by the war in Ukraine and European solidarity. As part of the ceremony, the European commissioner and the Ukrainian ambassador in Belgium released white pigeons at the Schumanplaza, where the European institutions are housed, as a symbol of peace and solidarity. These white pigeons belonged to Jos Thoné from As. Xavier Thoné, the son of the champion from As, regularly gets requests to borrow those white sprint pigeons for all kinds of formal ceremonies, predominantly marriages. They are guaranteed to return to their loft in As, which can not be said for ornamental pigeons.
By releasing the pigeons the European ceremony got a bit of extra weight, which was clearly appreciated by the Swedish European commissioner. She insisted on releasing the pigeons personally. For Jos Thoné the event at the Schumannplaza was also a special moment. Jos’ international fame and reputation as one of the ambassadors of the pigeon sport is well deserved. Two years ago Jos received the official certification as FCI-ambassador. The FCI is the only worldwide organisation within the pigeon sport. They are responsible for grouping the countries where the pigeon sport is practiced, together.