EUROPEAN UNION (EU) ,THE COMING TOGETHER OF NATIONS OF EUROPE WAS DESIGNED TO BE UNITED STATES OF EUROPE.THE OFFICIALLY FOUNDING FATHERS OF THE EU ARE 11 MEN RECOGNISED AS A MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS TO EUROPEAN UNITY IS NOW THE EUROPEAN UNION.
The founding fathers of the European Union are 11 men officially recognised as major contributors to European unity and the development of what is now the European Union.Founders of the EU always planned for a superstate.
On 7 May 1948, at the opening session of the Congress of Europe in The Hague, Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister and Honorary Chairman of the Congress, takes the stand in the Ridderzaal of the Binnenhof, home to the Netherlands’ Parliament, to deliver an address in which he warns, in particular, against the threat represented by the Soviet Union for the future of European unification.
In 1945, the toll of the war was disastrous. Sixty million people had been killed in all the theatres of operations around the world. The cities were submerged under the destruction. Millions of refugees were on the roads. Food shortages affected the population. The colonial empires started to fall apart. European currencies had lost value. Only three currencies had managed to resist, the US dollar, the pound sterling to a lesser extent, and the Swiss franc. The price of gold had reached new heights. Economies were administered by governments. Public opinions wanted a return to a normal life.in August 1949, at the first meeting of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, Churchill delivered his speech in French, and said:‘We are reunited here, in this new Assembly, not as representatives of our several countries or various political parties, but as Europeans forging ahead, hand in hand, and if necessary elbow to elbow, to restore the former glories of Europe.There is no reason for us not to succeed in achieving our goal and laying the foundation of a United Europe. A Europe whose moral design will win the respect and acknowledgement of all humanity, and whose physical strength will be such that no person will dare to disturb it as it marches peacefully towards the future.The world was also reorganised on the political level at major international conferences: first at inter-ally conferences, then at United Nations conferences. The most famous were held in Moscow (19–30 October 1943), Tehran (28 November–2 December 1943), Yalta (4–11 February 1945) and Potsdam (17 July–2 August 1945). The Unites States, the USSR and Great Britain, respectively led by Roosevelt (and then Truman), Stalin and Churchill (and then Attlee), sought to agree on the map of Europe once peace had returned, and the fate of entire peoples was in their hands. The Big Three took decisions for the landings in France, the occupation of Germany, the fate of Italy and the borders of Poland. The question of Poland’s western border gave rise to heated discussions with Stalin. And should Germany be broken up and deindustrialised.
Once the guns had fallen silent, people had to learn how to live in peace again. International conferences were organised to establish a new global balance, but by 1947 Europe had been divided into two zones of influence. In the West, a group of politicians motivated by the same ideal nonetheless began working for European unity. Leaders from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands sign the Treaty of Paris establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, April 18, 1951
Foreign ministers attend the conference of the Shuman Declaration on April 12, 1951 – the proposal that led first to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community and eventually to what is now the European Union – in Paris. Robert Shuman is fifth from the right.
The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was founded in 1952 with the explicit goal of solving the Rhineland problem. If France and Germany could both benefit from the Rhine, there would be no reason to fight over it. The ECSC also included other Rhineland-dependent states like Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. By pooling the industrial output of the Rhineland between them, a major source of geopolitical friction was solved.This was the progenitor of the European Union. It was trying to solve a simple problem: European powers had spent centuries killing one another over economic interest. Europe’s murderous mercantilism had driven the continent to bigger and bigger empires. These empires made Europe develop faster and faster, creating more and more powerful and lethal states that dragged whole continents into their conflicts.The formal start to the European Union was the establishment of a ‘common market’ for coal and steel in six west European countries. This was the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) signed as the Treaty of Paris in July 1951. This institution was intergovernmental, had a High Authority and a Council of Ministers which used a qualified majority voting’ system. The ECSC was given some sovereign powers over these national basic industries from the six Member States – West Germany, France, Italy and the Benelux countries.Britain rejected membership of the ECSC. A majority of companies in the iron, steel and coal industries had been nationalised in February 1951 by the Atlee Labour Government which did not want to lose control of these fundamental sectors of the economy. The National Coal Board became the largest industrial employer in Western Europe with 500,000 employees. The coal, steel, shipbuilding and manufacturing industries were the basis of Britain’s economy. Trade unions in these industries along with the railways formed the backbone of the labour movement.The welfare state had been extended and the NHS set up in 1948. To help pay for these Britain wanted to keep vested interests in the nation-states of the Commonwealth and continue exploiting the colonies of the British Empire. The latter required the umbrella of the USA’s military machine and hence support for her foreign policy.The real reasons for setting up the ECSC included the long term political aim of a federal super-national state or United States of Europe. This is why the Atlee government rejected the plan. What was known as the Schumann plan was deliberately cloaked in a language to keep this aim hidden. The plan was to dismantle the nation-states in stages to bring about their end which also meant the demise of democracy. This plan had been announced on the 9 May 1950 which subsequently became known as Europe Day.
These builders of Europe were the people who launched the process of European construction by founding fathers.To pick up the challenge, there are some men who come from defensive areas, fought by secular wars, such as French Robert Schuman or Trentino Alcide De Gasperi; cosmopolitan visionaries like the visionary Jean Monnet, or great chancellors Konrad Adenauer. Or anticipators like Altiero Spinelli.
On 25 March 1957, the representatives of the six Member States of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) meet in the Hall of the Horatii and Curiatii in the Capitol in Rome to sign the Treaties establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom). Among the national delegations, the following may be seen (from left to right): Maurice Faure (France), Konrad Adenauer and Walter Hallstein (Federal Republic of Germany), Antonio Segni and Gaetano Martino (Italy) and Joseph Bech (Luxembourg).
Contrary to what we could think, the Founding Fathers were not all statesmen. Some were lawyers, businessmen, resistance fighters, etc. However, there was a base of unity within this diversity: they all experienced the horrors of war and shared the same ideas, a peaceful, united, stable and prosperous Europe.The aim of the European project was to end the wars between neighbours and establish a cooperation system between populations. Political unity was the ultimate long-term aspiration.Konrad Adenauer – The first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany lays one of the most important stones in the foundation of Europe. A cornerstone of Adenauer's foreign policy is reconciliation with France. Together with French President Charles de Gaulle a historic turning point was achieved: in 1963 the one-time arch-enemies Germany and France sign a treaty of friendship, which will become one of the milestones on the road to European integration.Winston Churchill – The British Prime Minister during the Second World War is one of the first to call for the creation of a “United States of Europe”. Following the Second World War, he was convinced that only a united Europe could avert the nightmare of future wars. Churchill, a partisan of the anti-nazi coalition and a winner of the Nobel prize for literature, is one of the main champions of the European cause in the collective memory.Joseph Bech – The Luxembourgish politician and lawyer experiences both World Wars, which will be of determining importance for his biography. It is that difficult situation, experienced in a small country between two large and powerful countries – France and Germany – which will teach him the importance of internationalism and cooperation between states. Being aware of this, Bech participates in the creation of the Benelux, i.e. the union between Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg. It is a historic phase which is still considered as the first model for the future European Union.Johan Willem Beyen – The banker and politician Beyen is remembered for his contribution to the process of European integration and to the proposal of a customs union and of an economic cooperation within a European common market. Such idea is known as “Beyen Plan”. Such plan was transposed into the Treaties of Rome in 1957 and is at the core of the European Union since then. Alcide De Gasperi – He was the last prime minister of the Kingdom of Italy and the first one of the Italian Republic. Time and time again he promoted initiatives aimed at the fusion of Europe, working on the realisation of the Marshall Plan, creating close economic ties with other European countries and backing Schuman Plan for the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community. He contributed to the development of the idea of a common defence policy in Europe.Robert Schuman – He was the French foreign minister between 1948 and 1952 and President of the European Parliament from 1958 until 1960. He went down to history for the so-called “Schuman Plan” with which he proposed joint control of coal and steel production, the most important materials for the armaments industry. The basic idea was that whoever did not have control over coal and steel production would not be able to fight a war. This idea brought Schuman to draw up, in cooperation with Jean Monnet, the Schuman Plan, which he published on 9 May 1950, the date now regarded as the birth of the European Union. One year later, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands sign the agreement establishing the European Coal and Steel Community. Jean Monnet – The French political and economic adviser Jean Monnet was the inspiration behind the 'Schuman Plan', published on 9 May 1950, which led to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community. ECSC was the first embryo of the European Union and Monnet, between 1952 and 1955, was its first president. ECSC was the first of a series of supranational European institutions which led to what we now call “European Union”. Paul-Henri Spaak – The Belgian politician, since the Second World War, imagined a merger between the Benelux countries and promoted Europe unification by backing the European Coal and Steel Community and a European Defence Community. In Spaak’s view, merging states by means of binding obligations enshrined in a treaty would be the most effective way to ensure peace and stability. As President of the first plenary assembly of the United Nations in 1946 and as NATO Secretary General (1957-61) he contributes to the achievement of such goals. Johan Willem Beyen – The banker and politician Beyen is remembered for his contribution to the process of European integration and to the proposal of a customs union and of an economic cooperation within a European common market. Such idea is known as “Beyen Plan”. Such plan was transposed into the Treaties of Rome in 1957 and is at the core of the European Union since then.Sicco Mansholt – He was a farmer and a member of the Dutch resistance during the Second World War as well as the first European Commissioner responsible for Agriculture. Having witnessed the horrors of the Dutch famine at the end of the Second World War, Mansholt was convinced that agricultural productivity should increase, thus ensuring affordable food supply for all. Mansholt's ideas laid the basis for the Common Agricultural Policy.Jean Monnet – The French political and economic adviser Jean Monnet was the inspiration behind the 'Schuman Plan', published on 9 May 1950, which led to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community. ECSC was the first embryo of the European Union and Monnet, between 1952 and 1955, was its first president. ECSC was the first of a series of supranational European institutions which led to what we now call “European Union”. Paul-Henri Spaak – The Belgian politician, since the Second World War, imagined a merger between the Benelux countries and promoted Europe unification by backing the European Coal and Steel Community and a European Defence Community. In Spaak’s view, merging states by means of binding obligations enshrined in a treaty would be the most effective way to ensure peace and stability. As President of the first plenary assembly of the United Nations in 1946 and as NATO Secretary General (1957-61) he contributes to the achievement of such goals. Altiero Spinelli – In 1941, the antifascist intellectual, together with other political prisoners that were held captive in Ventotene island by the Fascist regime, outlined a federal Europe with the Ventotene Manifesto. The Manifesto was one of the first texts arguing for a European Constitution and the formation of a European federation of states, whose primary goal would link European countries and prevent a new war. On 14 February 1984 the European Parliament adopts his proposal by a vast majority and approves the “Draft Treaty Establishing the European Union”, the so-called “Spinelli Plan”. National parliaments will not ratify the Treaty but the document constitutes the basis for the subsequent treaties of the European Union.Alcide De Gasperi – He was the last prime minister of the Kingdom of Italy and the first one of the Italian Republic. Time and time again he promoted initiatives aimed at the fusion of Europe, working on the realisation of the Marshall Plan, creating close economic ties with other European countries and backing Schuman Plan for the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community. He contributed to the development of the idea of a common defence policy in Europe.Walter Hallstein - He was a committed European and a decisive proponent of European integration. Walter Hallstein was the first President of the European Commission from 1958 to 1967. As President of the European Commission, Hallstein worked towards a rapid realisation of the Common Market. Also as Secretary of State in the German Foreign Ministry originally attained international recognition through the ‘Hallstein Doctrine’, i.e. his foreign policy, which linked the young German democracy with western Europe.
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