The European Union’s founding fathers reacted to the bloodshed and destruction of World War II by concocting a scheme designed to inextricably link Europe’s coal and steel industries and prevent wars from ravaging the European continent in the future.
On May 9, 1950, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman announced a plan—in a speech inspired by French businessman-turned-advisor Jean Monnet—that proposed pooling European coal and steel production under a common authority.
While contributing to postwar economic recovery, this plan would also control the raw materials of war. The Schuman Declaration was regarded as the first step toward achieving a united Europe—an ideal that in the past had been pursued only by force.
May 9—Europe Day—is celebrated each year as the birth of today’s European Union. Read more…