Founding fathers of the European Union

Founding fathers of the European Union

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The Founding Fathers of the European Union are a number of men who have been recognised as making a major contribution to the development of European unity and what is now the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. There is no official list of founding fathers or a single event defining them so some ideas vary.

Europe's Founding Fathers


Strictly speaking, this name was given by the press and historiography. to a group of seven politicians who played a key role in launching European construction:
  • Konrad Adenauer
    Konrad Adenauer
    Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer was a German statesman. He was the chancellor of the West Germany from 1949 to 1963. He is widely recognised as a person who led his country from the ruins of World War II to a powerful and prosperous nation that had forged close relations with old enemies France,...

     (Germany)
  • Joseph Bech (Luxembourg)
  • Johan Willem Beyen (Netherlands)
  • Alcide De Gasperi
    Alcide De Gasperi
    Alcide De Gasperi was an Italian statesman and politician and founder of the Christian Democratic Party. From 1945 to 1953 he was the prime minister of eight successive coalition governments. His eight-year rule remains a landmark of political longevity for a leader in modern Italian politics...

     (Italy)
  • Jean Monnet
    Jean Monnet
    Jean Omer Marie Gabriel Monnet was a French political economist and diplomat. He is regarded by many as a chief architect of European Unity and is regarded as one of its founding fathers...

     (France)
  • Robert Schuman
    Robert Schuman
    Robert Schuman was a noted Luxembourgish-born French statesman. Schuman was a Christian Democrat and an independent political thinker and activist...

     (France)
  • Paul-Henri Spaak
    Paul-Henri Spaak
    Paul Henri Charles Spaak was a Belgian Socialist politician and statesman.-Early life:Paul-Henri Spaak was born on 25 January 1899 in Schaerbeek, Belgium, to a distinguished Belgian family. His grandfather, Paul Janson was an important member of the Liberal Party...

     (Belgium)

Proposals and Rome


Count Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi (1894–1972) published the paneuropa manifesto in 1923 which set up the movement of that name. At the start of the 1950s Robert Schuman
Robert Schuman
Robert Schuman was a noted Luxembourgish-born French statesman. Schuman was a Christian Democrat and an independent political thinker and activist...

 (1886–1963), based on a plan by Jean Monnet
Jean Monnet
Jean Omer Marie Gabriel Monnet was a French political economist and diplomat. He is regarded by many as a chief architect of European Unity and is regarded as one of its founding fathers...

 (1888–1979), called for a European Coal and Steel Community
European Coal and Steel Community
The European Coal and Steel Community was a six-nation international organisation serving to unify Western Europe during the Cold War and create the foundation for the modern-day developments of the European Union...

 in his "Schuman declaration
Schuman Declaration
The Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950 was a governmental proposal by then-French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman to create a new form of organization of States in Europe called a supranational Community. Following the experiences of two world wars, France recognized that certain values such as...

". Monnet went on to become the first president of the High Authority
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

. Schuman later served as president of the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

 and became notable for advancing European integration
European integration
European integration is the process of industrial, political, legal, economic integration of states wholly or partially in Europe...

.

Following on from its creation the Treaty of Rome
Treaty of Rome
The Treaty of Rome, officially the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, was an international agreement that led to the founding of the European Economic Community on 1 January 1958. It was signed on 25 March 1957 by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany...

 established the European Economic Community
European Economic Community
The European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) The European Economic Community (EEC) (also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking world, renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993The information in this article primarily covers the EEC's time as an independent...

. Although not all the people who signed the treaty are known as founding fathers, a number are such as Paul-Henri Spaak
Paul-Henri Spaak
Paul Henri Charles Spaak was a Belgian Socialist politician and statesman.-Early life:Paul-Henri Spaak was born on 25 January 1899 in Schaerbeek, Belgium, to a distinguished Belgian family. His grandfather, Paul Janson was an important member of the Liberal Party...

 (1899–1972), who also worked on the treaty as well as the Benelux
Benelux
The Benelux is an economic union in Western Europe comprising three neighbouring countries, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. These countries are located in northwestern Europe between France and Germany...

 union and was the first President of the European Parliament
President of the European Parliament
The President of the European Parliament presides over the debates and activities of the European Parliament. He or she also represents the Parliament within the EU and internationally. The President's signature is required for enacting most EU laws and the EU budget.Presidents serve...

. Other founding fathers who signed the treaty were Konrad Adenauer
Konrad Adenauer
Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer was a German statesman. He was the chancellor of the West Germany from 1949 to 1963. He is widely recognised as a person who led his country from the ruins of World War II to a powerful and prosperous nation that had forged close relations with old enemies France,...

 (1876–1967) of Germany and Joseph Bech (1887–1975) of Luxembourg.

Others


Further men who have been considered founding fathers are: Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 (1874–1965) made a speech in Zürich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

 in 1946 where he called for a United States of Europe
United States of Europe
Since the 1950s, European integration has seen the development of a supranational system of governance, as its institutions move further from the concept of simple intergovernmentalism. However, with the Maastricht Treaty of 1993, new intergovernmental elements have been introduced alongside the...

, starting with a Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

 (set up a few years later). Alcide De Gasperi
Alcide De Gasperi
Alcide De Gasperi was an Italian statesman and politician and founder of the Christian Democratic Party. From 1945 to 1953 he was the prime minister of eight successive coalition governments. His eight-year rule remains a landmark of political longevity for a leader in modern Italian politics...

 (1881–1954), who was the Italian Prime Minister and foreign minister
Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs
As in most countries, in Italy the Minister of Foreign Affairs, which is the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is one of the most important ministerial positions...

 during the creation of the ECSC and later became the second President of the European Parliament; Jacques Delors
Jacques Delors
Jacques Lucien Jean Delors is a French economist and politician, the eighth President of the European Commission and the first person to serve three terms in that office .-French Politics:...

 (born 1925), who was a successful Commission President in the 1980s and 90s; Sicco Mansholt
Sicco Mansholt
Sicco Leendert Mansholt was the fourth President of the European Commission in 1972–1973. He was the European Commissioner for Agriculture from 1958 until 1972....

 (1908–1995), a Dutch minister and Commission President; Lorenzo Natali (1922–1989); Mário Soares
Mário Soares
Mário Alberto Nobre Lopes Soares, GColTE, GCC, GColL, KE , Portuguese politician, served as Prime Minister of Portugal from 1976 to 1978 and from 1983 to 1985, and subsequently as the 17th President of Portugal from 1986 to 1996.-Family:...

 (born 1924), Portuguese Prime Minister at the time Portugal acceeded the EC; Altiero Spinelli
Altiero Spinelli
Altiero Spinelli was an Italian political theorist and a European federalist. Spinelli is referred to as one of the "Founding Fathers of the European Union" due to his co-authorship of the Ventotene Manifesto, his founding role in the European federalist movement, his strong influence on the first...

 (1907–1986), an Italian active in the resistance and European federalists movement who became a prominent MEP
Member of the European Parliament
A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.When the European Parliament was first established,...

 and Commissioner
European Commissioner
A European Commissioner is a member of the 27-member European Commission. Each Member within the college holds a specific portfolio and are led by the President of the European Commission...

; and Pierre Werner (1913–2002) a Prime Minister of Luxembourg.

See also

  • History of the European Union
    History of the European Union
    The European Union is a geo-political entity covering a large portion of the European continent. It is founded upon numerous treaties and has undergone expansions that have taken it from 7 member states to 27, a majority of states in Europe....

  • President of the European Commission
    President of the European Commission
    The President of the European Commission is the head of the European Commission ― the executive branch of the :European Union ― the most powerful officeholder in the EU. The President is responsible for allocating portfolios to members of the Commission and can reshuffle or dismiss them if needed...

  • President of the European Parliament
    President of the European Parliament
    The President of the European Parliament presides over the debates and activities of the European Parliament. He or she also represents the Parliament within the EU and internationally. The President's signature is required for enacting most EU laws and the EU budget.Presidents serve...

  • List of presidents of EU institutions