Introduction to European Union law
Introduction to European Union law

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Introduction to European Union law

3.1 The beginning – a founding perspective and goals

The architects of European integration had dreams whose roots lay in World War II and a common desire to avoid future military conflict. It culminated in the Schuman Plan advocated on 9 May 1950.

Activity 4 Founding fathers of the EU

Timing: You should allow yourself 20 minutes to do this activity.

Now identify the nuanced differences in the speeches given by these key figures. Below is a list of key figures and their perspectives on Europe. Match them up.

Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.

  1. A Franco–German pact to transparently unify through mutual control of their coal and steel industries was a foundation for trust (the implication was that trust results in peace).

  2. A regional structure called the United States of Europe beginning with a Council of Europe was the means of guaranteeing peace.

  3. Advocates the need for a united European identity and voice, without which Europe will descend back into conflict.

  4. Secure peace through placing the production of coal and steel under a common authority.

  5. The test of the success of a united Europe is supranational institutions.

  • a.Konrad Adenauer

  • b.Alcide de Gasperi

  • c.Walter Hallstein

  • d.Jean Monnet

  • e.Robert Schuman

The correct answers are:
  • 1 = a
  • 2 = b
  • 3 = c
  • 4 = e
  • 5 = d

Comment

You will have noticed the focus of France and Germany was on coal and steel. This was because, even immediately after World War II, it still was held as essential to economic success. The root cause of three wars between France and Germany (between 1875 and 1945) is thought to be competition to control those resources in the border regions of Rhineland, Saar and Alsace Lorraine in order to gain industrial advantage.

Soon the focus shifted to other economic factors, such as customs barriers.

You should have noted that these architects had slightly different emphases on how to achieve their common desire. It is important not to overlook that the overbearing geopolitical issue at the time was the Cold War warming up and Soviet expansionism.

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