United Kingdom should be proud of the part it has played in creating a stable, thriving Europe
letter of the day: Celebrating continent
Monday, May 9 was Europe Day - a designated day for the Union flag to fly proudly on many of our buildings.
This is, indeed, fitting as we all should be proud of the role we have played in helping to get Europe back on its feet again after the devastation of war, division of the Continent and dictatorships in many countries (and not just those behind the Iron Curtain).
Granted, the UK was not an initial signatory of the Treaty of Rome, but consider where Europe was in 1973 when it did join.
We had dictatorships in Spain and Portugal, tensions over Cyprus, relations between the British and Irish governments probably at their worst since 1945.
A stable, democratic EEC, with key decisions taken by elected leaders, championing fundamental rights, has allowed such countries to meet the requirements of membership.
Who would have believed - even in the 1960s - that our community of nations would eventually include Poland, Spain, Portugal, Australia, a united Germany, Hungary, United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Croatia and many other countries discussing and agreeing together?
There have been - and no doubt will again be - challenges to this community, but that should not let us forget the significant achievement we have helped create by virtue of the role the United Kingdom has played in its membership since 1973.
So, on Monday, as you saw the flag flying for Europe Day, you could be proud of the role the UK has played due to its membership of what is now the European Union in developing a community of nations that is a world away from the dark, divided Continent of the 1970s.
European Movement of Northern Ireland deputy chair