Europe day: the role of Robert Schuman in the integration of Europe
Celebrated each year on the 9th of May, Europe Day is an important day for every single citizens of the European Union, wherever they are in the world. Europe day is the occasion for activities and festivities which bring Europe closer to its citizens and its people to each other. It is also the opportunity to commemorate the Robert Schuman declaration which marked the beginning of the European integration process, a wonderful adventure which created a lasting peace and prosperity, at the end of WWII.
The celebration of Europe Day is also the occasion this year to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration. But why has this declaration played such an important role? A flashback on a historic day and a visionary man.
The Declaration of May 9th, a decisive declaration for Europe
Robert Schuman was born German in Luxembourg and became French after the annexation of Moselle to France. French minister of Foreign Affairs in 1950, Robert Schuman was a devoted advocate for a union between European countries. The declaration he pronounced on the 9th of May 1950, in the salon de l’Horloge of the Quai d’Orsay in Paris, is still considered as the founding text of the European Union. This declaration, inspired by Jean Monnet, commissioner general of the French national planning board, mentions the creation of the CECA (European Community for Charcoal and Steel).
The latter was set up the next year and marked the true beginning of a union between the European countries. Six countries answered to the call of Schuman with the Paris treaty, on the 18th of April 1951: Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Holland and Luxemburg.
“The pooling of charcoal and steel productions will immediately lead to the establishment of common basis for economic development, the first step towards a European federation”, Extract from the Schuman Declaration.
Robert Schuman wished for a prosperous and peaceful Europe, as well as a political unity. “The contribution that a well-organized and well-living Europe can bring to civilization is essential to the upholding of peaceful relations.” Extract from the Schuman Declaration.
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- Robert Schuman, à qui le Parlement européen décerne en 1960 le titre de « Père de l’Europe »
From the CECA ensued the CEE, the European Economic Community, which became in 1992 the European Union (EU). We can therefore affirm that it is the Schuman declaration that, by initiating a first economic union among countries, has enabled the opening and strengthening of this union to many other fields. As wished by Robert Schuman, the European Union has also its own institutions in place, in particular a Parliament and a Justice Court. Since the Schuman declaration, European countries have also adopted a flag, a hymn, a motto (“united in diversity”), and, for 19 of them, a unique currency: the Euro.