European elections are coming up
As you may have noticed, we recently changed our cover to the signing of the Treaty of Paris, establishing the European Coal and Steel Community. From 22-25 May people in 28 countries will head to the polls to vote for the European Parliament. This week we will focus some of our attention on this election.
The cooperation of 28 countries in the European Union started more than 60 years ago with the ECSC. The ECSC was first proposed by the French Foreign Minister Robert Shuman with a simple goal: to make war not only unthinkable, but materially impossible. In the picture below we see Schuman proposing his plan in the Quay d’Orsay (French ministry of Foreign Affairs).
By neutralising competition between European nations over the natural resources necessary for war (coal and steel) regional integration and lasting peace could be achieved. This cooperation advanced towards the European Union we know today. The goal of the ECSC, to make war impossible, has been achieved for the last 60 years. In the absence of war, Europe has been able to flourish, and the European Declaration of Human Rights (which all EU member states signed) provides the highest degree of individual protection of any international human rights agreements.
Fun Fact: The ECSC was designed to last fifty years, so while its institutions were taken over by the European Communities and later the European Union, the ECSC wasn’t absolved until 23 July 2002.