Schuman 2.0

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Robert Schuman

The statesman Robert Schuman, a qualified law and French foreign minister between 1948 and 1952, is regarded as one of the founding fathers of European unity. Schuman was born in Luxembourg and was influenced by his background in the French-German border region. Despite, or maybe as a result of his experiences in Nazi Germany, he recognised that only a lasting reconciliation with Germany could form the basis for a united Europe. Deported to Germany in 1940, he joined the French Resistance upon fleeing two years later. In spite of this, he showed no resentment when, following the war, he became foreign minister. In cooperation with Jean Monnet he drew up the internationally renowned Schuman Plan, which he published on 9 May 1950, the date now regarded as the birth of the European Union. 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 .Schuman informed the German chancellor Adenauer of the plan, who immediately recognised the opportunity for a peaceful Europe and agreed. Shortly afterwards, the governments of Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands also reacted. The six states signed the agreement for the European Coal and Steel Community in Paris in April 1951. In this way, Europe began as a peace initiative. Schuman also supported the formation of a common European defence policy, and held the post of President of the European Parliament from 1958 to 1960.

Why Remembering Schuman? 

  • To empower participants, increase their interest and awareness about EU affairs among non-EU involved citizens.

  • To create a stronger will to build a common future, through the submission of participants’ own declarations. We’ll offer

  • To give to the participants the opportunity to have an impact on the future of the Union.

  • To build closer links between different actors as CSO, students, and citizens.

  • To raise awareness of one of the founding moments of the European Integration project.

  • To forge a common view on the foundation principles of the EU, in particular by fostering ownership of the Schuman Declaration among citizens from non-founding Member States.

  • To show the pertinence of the Schuman Declaration 70 years after, updating its spirit.

DECLARATION

The Schuman Declaration was presented by French foreign minister Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950. It proposed the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community, whose members would pool coal and steel production.

 

The ECSC (founding members: France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) was the first of a series of supranational European institutions that would ultimately become today's "European Union".

Historical context

In 1950, the nations of Europe were still struggling to overcome the devastation wrought by World War II, which had ended 5 years earlier.

Determined to prevent another such terrible war, European governments concluded that pooling coal and steel production would – in the words of the Declaration – make war between historic rivals France and Germany "not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible".

It was thought – correctly – that merging of economic interests would help raise standards of living and be the first step towards a more united Europe. Membership of the ECSC was open to other countries.

Historical Context

In 1950, the nations of Europe were still struggling to overcome the devastation wrought by World War II, which had ended 5 years earlier.

Determined to prevent another such terrible war, European governments concluded that pooling coal and steel production would – in the words of the Declaration – make war between historic rivals France and Germany "not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible".

It was thought – correctly – that merging of economic interests would help raise standards of living and be the first step towards a more united Europe. Membership of the ECSC was open to other countries.

Schuman Declaration 

World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it.

The contribution which an organized and living Europe can bring to civilization is indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations. In taking upon herself for more than 20 years the role of champion of a united Europe, France has always had as her essential aim the service of peace. A united Europe was not achieved and we had war.

 

Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity. The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany. Any action taken must in the first place concern these two countries.

 

With this aim in view, the French Government proposes that action be taken immediately on one limited but decisive point.

It proposes that Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole be placed under a common High Authority, within the framework of an organization open to the participation of the other countries of Europe. The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe, and will change the destinies of those regions which have long been devoted to the manufacture of munitions of war, of which they have been the most constant victims.

 

The solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible. The setting up of this powerful productive unit, open to all countries willing to take part and bound ultimately to provide all the member countries with the basic elements of industrial production on the same terms, will lay a true foundation for their economic unification.

This production will be offered to the world as a whole without distinction or exception, with the aim of contributing to raising living standards and to promoting peaceful achievements. With increased resources Europe will be able to pursue the achievement of one of its essential tasks, namely, the development of the African continent. In this way, there will be realised simply and speedily that fusion of interest which is indispensable to the establishment of a common economic system; it may be the leaven from which may grow a wider and deeper community between countries long opposed to one another by sanguinary divisions.

 

By pooling basic production and by instituting a new High Authority, whose decisions will bind France, Germany and other member countries, this proposal will lead to the realization of the first concrete foundation of a European federation indispensable to the preservation of peace.

To promote the realization of the objectives defined, the French Government is ready to open negotiations on the following bases.

 

The task with which this common High Authority will be charged will be that of securing in the shortest possible time the modernization of production and the improvement of its quality; the supply of coal and steel on identical terms to the French and German markets, as well as to the markets of other member countries; the development in common of exports to other countries; the equalization and improvement of the living conditions of workers in these industries.

 

To achieve these objectives, starting from the very different conditions in which the production of member countries is at present situated, it is proposed that certain transitional measures should be instituted, such as the application of a production and investment plan, the establishment of compensating machinery for equating prices, and the creation of a restructuring fund to facilitate the rationalization of production. The movement of coal and steel between member countries will immediately be freed from all customs duty, and will not be affected by differential transport rates. Conditions will gradually be created which will spontaneously provide for the more rational distribution of production at the highest level of productivity.

 

In contrast to international cartels, which tend to impose restrictive practices on distribution and the exploitation of national markets, and to maintain high profits, the organization will ensure the fusion of markets and the expansion of production.

The essential principles and undertakings defined above will be the subject of a treaty signed between the States and submitted for the ratification of their parliaments. The negotiations required to settle details of applications will be undertaken with the help of an arbitrator appointed by common agreement. He will be entrusted with the task of seeing that the agreements reached conform with the principles laid down, and, in the event of a deadlock, he will decide what solution is to be adopted.

 

The common High Authority entrusted with the management of the scheme will be composed of independent persons appointed by the governments, giving equal representation. A chairman will be chosen by common agreement between the governments. The Authority's decisions will be enforceable in France, Germany and other member countries. Appropriate measures will be provided for means of appeal against the decisions of the Authority.