Drakopoulos, Pan: The Way to Unity

1948, April 16: The Formation of OEEC

The Organization of European Economic Cooperation is formed to administer the Marshall Plan (The European Recovery Plan). OEEC will be the beginning of the end of national economies in Europe.

1948, 7-10 May: The Congress of Europe

The Congress of Europe, organized by the Joint Committee under Duncan Sandys, takes place in the Hague; more than 750 delegates from all over free Europe participate. Among them there are W.Churchill, Konrad Adenauer, Alcide de Gasperi, Paul Reynaud, Georges Bidault, Paul Ramadier, Robert Schuman, Leon Blum, Salvador de Matariaga, Paul-Henri Spaak, Jean Monnet, Denis de Rougemont, Henri Brugmans, Altiero Spinelli, Edouard Herriot, Gaston Riou.

The major resolution of the Congress declares as an immediate task the establishment of a European Assembly which could advise measures that would bring about economic and political integration of Europe. Before the Congress disbanded, the members of the Joint Committee had founded the European Movement, as an umbrella organization.

1948, July: Towards a European Assembly

The Prime Minister of Belgium Paul-Henri Spaak, a committed Europeanist, announces to his nation’s Senate that he has asked the European Movement to submit a detailed plan for an Assembly of Europe. Robert Schuman, the French Foreign Minister, makes contact with all the members of the Brussels Treaty asking the establishment of a European Assembly. The European Movement responds submitting a memorandum on the issue.

1948, September: The European Parliamentary Union

The First Conference of the European Parliamentary Union, formed by Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, takes place in Interlaken, Switzerland. 500 members of European Parliaments approve the plan of the Federal Union of Europe drafted by the British federalist R.W.G. Mackay.

1949, May 5: Birth of the Council of Europe

Despite the hesitations of the (Labor) British government, the Westminster Treaty for the creation of the Council of Europe is signed by representatives of 10 states: “the new body,” Derek Urwin writes, “became Western Europe’s first postwar political organization, one which immediately and daringly claimed that it would work for an economic and political union”. The first session of the Assembly will hold, in August 1949. Its first President will be Paul-Henri Spaak.

1949, May 23: Germany Returns to Europe

The Federal Republic of Germany is founded. The horizon of the European unity is now clear.

1950, May 9: The Shuman Declaration

The failure of federalists to create a new political reality through the Council of Europe, the stress of the Americans for a reinstatement of Germany, and the friction between Germany and France about Saar made once again the European unity to seem as a quixotism. At this juncture, Jean Monnet introduces his functional method: “It was now,” Richard Mayne writes, ” that Monnet saw the chance to make his key contribution to the development of postwar Europe. Essentially, it linked the immediate problem of Germany with the contemporary discussion of European unity; and it did so by focusing on a very specific and concrete idea”. Monnet submits a proposal to the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman; Schuman adopts it at once and on May 9 he announces what is thereafter known as the Schuman Declaration or Schuman Plan: “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 … . 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”. After the Schuman Declaration “the word Europe would never quite sound the same again”, Monnet notices.

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